Saint Ignatius College Geelong

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    From the Principal

    Article by Mr Michael Exton

    From the Principal

    Supporting student perseverance 

    Perseverance is a characteristic of successful learners.

    As you are aware, it is essential to praise and affirm students to support their learning.  In education, we focus on effort, persistence and strategy as key characteristics for successful learning more so than the praise of intelligence or skill.  Moreover, to some extent, perseverance determines effort and strategy.

    Like many schools, at Saint Ignatius, we encourage our students to adopt a “growth mindset.”  This approach is based on Stanford University psychologist Carol Dweck’s work.  The powerful statement, “not yet” encapsulates and supports this approach.  When a student says, ‘I don’t get it,’ using this approach, we can respond, ‘You don’t get it yet. What’s our next step?’  In this way, we encourage a student to persevere with her/his learning.

    Educationalist, Tom Meagher (STEM Educator, Minnesota, USA), offers another insight that can help us to develop student perseverance.  I think he makes a good point that when talking to students about tasks they need to undertake instead of presenting challenges to students as things to work on that just need to be done, we should frame the challenges as opportunities for practice, for building knowledge and skills, for getting better with learning in the doing and not just the end product.

    Does your daughter/son have trouble following through on tasks and commitments?  Does she/he give up when it gets too hard, or say she/he has had enough of it?  As parents, we know the importance of perseverance in life.  I think most of us could recall many, many examples of the challenges we have been faced with.  Regardless of how we managed these, our reflection on what we learned about how we handled these would include a recognition of the value of faith, hope and perseverance.  No wonder parents would naturally worry about their child’s development of her/his ability to persevere. 

    I came across the following advice* for parents.  Most parents are doing a great job at persevering themselves with supporting their daughter/son in this matter and probably have many insights, skills and experience that is valuable.  I offer this for your consideration to help parents in this task.

    Don’t think of your child’s character as fixed. Most of our worries about our children are about the future. We see the young person who quits and worry about what this could mean for their character as an adult. However, who they are now is not who they will always be. 

    Explain the difference between “I don’t want to” and “I don’t feel like it”. Distinguishing long-term desires from immediate feelings will help children understand the difference between an immediate task and the ultimate goal. This is a lesson that doesn’t register right away, but it’s worth planting the seed and emphasising over time.

    Let them know you see the areas in which they do work hard or show motivation. Say “I know you’re someone who can stick with things when they’re important to you”.

    Get to the root of their concern.  Why don’t they want to go? Perhaps they feel they aren’t as good as the others. What might make that better? Extra practice with your help? Help them see we often have to be not so good at things for a while as part of the process of getting good at something.  

    Children should have control over their own lives, but that doesn’t mean they can back out of a commitment, or waste the money parents have paid for lessons or gear. If they are adamant, then expect them to write a letter to the coach or organiser explaining why they are quitting. This makes them take ownership of their decision. They cannot ask parents to phone and get them off the hook.

    Keep exploring. It may take a while to find what really motivates and enthuses them.

    We can’t make them develop grit. We can expose them to things they may like, support them in sticking with things as they get harder and express confidence that they can handle the stress or the boredom.

    The world is so complex that we have no idea where the things that will inspire and excite our children come from. If we encourage children to keep seeking what they love and to work hard at it when they find it, that will help them grow into confident and self-directed young adults.

    [* Acknowledgement – “Principals’ Digest,” Volume 24 Number 31]

    College Assembly – tomorrow

    We will conduct our next whole school assembly tomorrow, Friday 17th May in the gym. Parents and Friends of the College are welcome to attend. Please report to the office by 10:45 am on the day. The assembly will conclude at around 12:30 pm.

    Year 7 Enrolments for 2020

    Can I please remind parents of current students that if you have a child in Year Six this year that applications for a place in Year 7 next year at Saint Ignatius College Geelong close tomorrow, Friday 17th May 2019. Application forms are available online or from our office at the College.

    Year 7 Camps

    I was very pleased to be able to visit the Year 7 camps on the evenings of Tuesday 7th and Thursday 9th May at Anglesea. I was very impressed by the positive and enthusiastic responses I received from the students about their camp experience and how they were settling into secondary school life. As in previous years, I took some of the College Captains with me. These Senior Student Leaders were delighted by the warm welcome they received. They did a tremendous job meeting as many Year 7s as possible, talking about their experiences of camps and school and encouraging the young students to make the most of their opportunities. I congratulate Ms Leonie O’Brien (Yr 7 Coordinator) and the staff team involved in providing this valuable experience for our Yr 7 students.


    On Tuesday 14th, Wednesday 15th and today, Thursday 16th May, our Years 7 and 9 students sat the 2019 NAPLAN tests. I visited the test venues each day and was impressed with the cooperative manner and seemingly diligent approach of the students to these tests – well done to the students. Thank you to Mrs Annette Chidzey, Ms Jane Alexander and Ms Vicki Munro for their work to coordinate these assessments and all staff involved in supporting the running of this external assessment program. Parents will be provided with a report from VCAA via the school about their daughter/son’s performance later in the year.

    Jesuit Mission Maytime Fair

    Saint Ignatius College Geelong was again very pleased to be able to support the Jesuit Missions Maytime Fair at Xavier College on Saturday 4th May. This was our seventh year of helping out. The proceeds will assist the Jesuits in their work with people in India, Myanmar, Africa, China, East Timor, Cambodia, Pakistan, Thailand and The Philippines.

    Well done to the six Senior Student Leaders who with some staff help ran a “Tastes of the Bellarine” stall. They raised just over $2,200 on the day. As well as raising valuable funds or performing, the students were great ambassadors for our College and strengthened our connections with the network of Jesuit groups. 

    Thank you to Mr Paul Lewis (Depurty Principal), Mr Anthony Gravener (Student Leadership Development Coordinator), and all staff members involved in supporting our students’ participation in this event. And thank you to the many local businesses that donated items for the stall.

    Farewell to Mr Andrew Humphrey (Grounds & Maintenance)

    After 15 years in this role at our College, Mr Humphrey will be moving to a position at another school. On behalf of our College community, I express my gratitude to Mr Humphrey for his contribution to the development and maintenance of the College’s facilities and grounds during a period of considerable growth in school population and expansion of our College facilities.  His work has helped ensure that our students have excellent and well maintained facilities and grounds so our students have a pleasant and safe learning environment.  I wish him a rewarding time in his new role.

    Staff member on leave

    Mrs Claire Hewitt will be on long service leave for the remainder of the term.  I wish Mrs Hewitt a restful and enjoyable time.  Mr Max Green will be covering Mrs Hewitt’s Mathematics classes.

    Michael Exton  Principal

    Privacy and information collection - Saint Ignatius College Geelong is bound by the Australian Privacy Principles contained in the Commonwealth Privacy Act 1998. In relation to health records, the School is also bound by the Health Records Act 2001 (Vic.). A copies of the College’s Privacy Policy and ‘Collection Notice’ that take into account these laws, technology and changes to the School’s operations and practices is available on our website. You can find the link at the bottom of the College’s web page. 

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