Mark Richards | Director of Innovation and Learning

The invention of the silicon chip and mobile phones has initiated a new age, no longer are teachers the gatekeepers to knowledge.  This democratisation of information has both its benefits and its challenges, especially for education.  Skills such as creativity, problem solving and resilience become much more important.  It is no longer enough to be able to answer the questions, you also need to be able to work out if the question is the right one and which answer is the most accurate.  People react to these challenges differently and I am immensely proud of how the SCOTS PGC Community have dealt with all the recent upheavals.

Fortunately, the Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority has concluded that COVID-19 had no significant impact on the numeracy and literacy of Australian students.  The ACARA CEO, David de Carvalho, has said these results are a “… testament to the resilience of students, teachers, parents and carers, and school and system leaders during these challenging times.”  Personally, I think it is also to do with the comradery and mateship that Australians hold so dear.  We will need more of this as we move forward.

The impact of individuality on teaching and learning is two-fold, we need to embrace a student’s individual talents and abilities, but also encourage each student to become responsible for their own learning.  Inside the classroom differentiation is used to modify tasks to suit individual learner’s learning needs and goals, where students are given different activities or different learning outcomes.  This is also expressed in the learning objectives for each subject.

At home, this should manifest itself in how and when study is completed.  The Study Guidelines are designed to encourage students to take ownership of their learning, increasing the suggested time for study in each Year level up to Year 12.  Directed study from teachers should allow the student to reflect, review and engage with the content at a deeper level.  Some students may require more time, some less.  It is the goal of the College to encourage every student to get into the habit of independent reading as part of their regular study routine and as such forms part of the suggested study time.

We also appreciate that students may have outside commitments, are involved in clubs and societies and should be involved in an active and supportive social life.  This holistic view is a core component of life at SCOTS PGC.  As a consequence we welcome parents and careers to communicate with teachers when students need additional support and when students have other commitments that may make study difficult.  Study at home, whether directed by a teacher or planned by the student, shows students have the dedication to improve themselves.  This, as well as participation in co-curricular activities and hard work, are components to a successful life of learning.

Finally, the Year 12s will have their Mock exam block at the end of this term, in week 9 and 10.  These are practice external exams and we will be running the exam block as close to the conditions of the real thing as we can.  It is vital that students take these assessments as seriously as possible, as it will give them experience and better prepare them for next Term.  These exams will also contribute towards the speech day awards, including Dux of the College.  If you have any questions about the external assessments, please do not hesitate to get in contact.