JS News 20 Sept 17

Paul Southwell, Head of Junior School

Paul Southwell, Head of Junior School

Dates to Remember 

Thurs 21 Sept

Year 3 Excursion to Botanic Gardens

Fri 22 Sept

Last Day of Term 3

Monday 9 Oct

First Day of Term 4

"Hard Fun"

As the Educational Broadcasting Corporation states:

The traditional approach to learning focused upon mastery of content with less emphasis on developing skills. A system [is] more teacher-centred, with a focus on giving out information about what is known, whereas inquiry is more focused upon ‘how we come to know’ - the more interested and engaged students are the greater potential for in-depth knowledge.

In short education is moving from learning about things, to learning things - moving from "what" as opposed to "how".

Initially I saw this step as "engagement meets skills"  but  following a term where we have celebrated Learning Journeys as assessment pieces for PreK to Year 5, Exhibition as a culminating assessment for Year 6, as well as Allwell assessments and NAPLAN outcomes, I am now more inclined to look at inquiry learning along the lines of Seymour Papert. Seymour Papert often talked about "Hard Fun" as his thinking about how teachers, students and parents can create those learning scenarios where skill meets engagement - hard fun.

As I have often mentioned, I remember learning my “Times Tables” before going to bed. I am still very good at my tables, I had the "hard or skills" covered. My problem was that I didn’t know why or how I needed to know them, I wasn’t engaged, I didn’t connect to the fun or challenge!

I add this in our final week of term, not only because we are reflecting upon achievements and examples of "Hard Fun" this term, but more importantly looking at our 2018 teacher applicants. If we look at teaching at Radford through the "Hard Fun" lens we can see why this Junior School continues to grow and flourish. It’s very hard to achieve Hard Fun. To teach through an inquiry stance you must firstly know your content, be a strong academic, know your curriculum. To add to this, you must be a strong listener and questioner, able to redirect quickly. You must be agile, able to learn, unlearn and relearn. You must be collaborative, able to engage, to provoke but not disclose the full content, instead allow our learners to have the fun of the engagement - where they understand the what and the how.
This week, as we farewell one of the Junior School's strongest example of a "Hard Fun" teacher in Matt Heinrich, I have been reassured through our new applicants that we have some wonderful, talented and passionate teachers to continue the tradition we have created within our community over the past ten years.

Buildings and playgrounds
As we move through Term 4, we will see the commencement of our Kindergarten and Early Primary play areas take shape. We are looking to a "next step from PreKindergarten" approach where we can cater better for the needs of these age groups. We are coping well with the current playground areas being impacted by our buildings. I thank our staff who have taken on additional support roles, thus creating greater opportunities for our younger students to gain supervised access to our large oval spaces. Additionally, I thank our lovely Year 6 leaders who are providing an outlet for play equipment once our students are on the ovals (meaning less gear has to come to school). We are also finding that our girls and boys are accessing areas that they were less aware of previously (sand pits, front grass area, ovals as mentioned, library, Lego tables, and Gossan hillside to name a few). Our playground area should be returning to usual use by the end of this month.

Our Year 4 Centre (2018) is taking shape. At this stage, most of the focus has been upon the very large undercroft which will house PE classes, lunchtime eating and playing spaces and some of our OHSC next year. The class areas will follow quickly now. 

Sports Results

Congratulations to the following pupils and teams for their successes over the past week

  • Alex Checksfield for his national swimming championship victory.
  • Oliver Luppi for breaking the Belconnen Zone record for 100m
  • Year 3/4 Sue Geh Girls and Jamie Pearlman Boys basketball competition.

Grand Final Winners

  • Under 12 Girls soccer
  • Radford Dolphins Div 2 – Netball
  • Radford Tigers Div 2 – Basketball

Finally, I thank you for your support this term. We seem to have something additional to our classwork to share with our community each week, we are all tiring and looking forward to the warmer days ahead.

Take care and enjoy the coming weeks.


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