Lessons from Paw Patrol

Mr Mark Richards | Director of Teaching, Learning and Innovation

The following is an abridged version of the speech I delivered at both academic assemblies last week, though as our College Captain Hannah Myer mentioned in her speech, it is very unlikely you remembered what I said.

My 3-year-old son never stops, he is constantly on the go, continuously inquisitive in the world around him, searching for new experiences and new skills to learn.  His favourite question is ‘Why?’  Why is there a caterpillar in the lounge?  Why do I have to go to bed?  Why can’t I be a member of Paw Patrol?

I found out the answer to the caterpillar question, the plague is a phenomenon that occurs when white cedar moth caterpillars try and find a quiet nook to hide or some food.  He has taught me as much as I have taught him, he is a constant reminder that curiosity and inquiry need to be at the heart of successful education.  I have also learnt how much children’s programs can teach and influence, so please let me share a few things I have learnt by watching many hours of Paw Patrol.

  1. Be responsive.

Every show opens with the pups having fun, but when they are called to respond to a need, they do so immediately with a positive sense of duty. Rather than complaining, they are excited to help. When needs arise, a lot of people today don’t always lean into responsiveness, which is defined as ‘the quality of reacting quickly and positively’.  But helping others is not just our obligation, it is our exciting privilege.  It is a fundamental part of being a student at SCOTS PGC, being involved, helping, and expressing our collective College Spirit.

  1. Be ready.

After all the pups rush to Lookout Tower, Ryder fully explains to the whole team the need that has arisen. Ryder then lays out the plan for how the Paw Patrol will respond.  Only a few of the pups are sent out to help, even though all get ready.  This is key: they all are called for action, and they are all ready, but only a few of the pups are sent on the mission.  We must all be ready to jump into action to save the day.  You never know when it will be you and your excellence the team needs.

  1. Be respectful.

Paw Patrol teaches us that it takes people (and pups) with different skills, mindsets, and experiences to solve problems.  Respect for each other’s skills, experiences and feelings lead to a greater collective ability.

  1. Be tenacious.

Inevitably for the Paw Patrol, their first attempt at rescue falls short. But when the first plan fails, they don’t give up. They reassess the situation and try again.  Failure doesn’t hold us back; it can aid us to better success – if we learn from it.

It was great to be able to award certificates of Excellence and Merit, and full and half colours.  These students have shown all these values and more, they have shown a willingness to devote regular energy to their studies, managing their time exceptionally well.  They are all well-rounded individuals who consistently exhibit the school values of Spirit, Excellence and Tenacity.  These are achievements of which they should be truly proud.

The criteria for these awards will be changing in 2022 to reflect the new senior system.  We will be changing to a Grade Point Average, allowing a fairer assessment of overall achievement.  Details of these changes will be included in communication at the end of the term.

We were also able to welcome back William Gilmore, who achieved an amazing ATAR of 99.45, to represent the Year 12 Scholars of 2021.  This cohort achieved fantastic results, given the struggles and challenges of learning through COVID-19.  A quarter of ATAR eligible students achieved 90+ and 10 students have successfully been awarded apprenticeships.  This is a great legacy to leave behind for all students to aspire to.