31 Mar 2017

A Message from the Head of Lindfield

Procrastination – In world of Digital Distractions

When I sit down to write a Prep Talk article, I follow a consistent routine that facilitates concentration on the task:

  Clear my desk.

  Get a drink of water.

  Boil the kettle.

  Eat anything.

  Tidy up the bookshelf.

  Check my email.

  Click on iTunes and play something that helps me focus.

  Check Sydney Morning Herald online for ideas.

  Check on the kids.

  Make coffee.

  Repeat sequence all over again.

By this time 45 minutes have passed, I have achieved very little but I have procrastinated and wasted time that was supposed to be used to create the article.

Procrastination for adults is a common issue. For our boys, especially those in the upper grades, who are becoming independent learners with high school on the horizon, procrastination is something that needs to be understood and addressed.

Procrastination won’t end with the taking away of digital distractions, or moving to another room. It is a state of mind and needs to be understood.  For adults, the tasks that are most frequently put off are large, complex, abstract tasks and it is the same for our boys. David Allen, author of the best-selling book Getting Things Done, says that the larger the task, and the more abstract the thinking required, the less likely we are to finish it.

Think about your son’s homework. Which parts are they happy to complete independently and which parts do you find that you always have to help and cajole them to do? Writing is a good example. It is multi-step (brainstorm, ideas, writing, editing), it is abstract, and it is challenging for many boys.

Another factor that may be at work in procrastination is called “the planning fallacy”. People underestimate how long it will take to complete a task because they fail to take into account how long similar tasks have taken in the past, and unrealistically assume that there will be no difficulties or interruptions this time around.

Does your son leave homework until Monday morning, when there is a very limited amount of time, usually less than would be necessary if the homework was done over numerous days throughout the week?

The trick in situations where we procrastinate is to break the challenge down into smaller, short-term steps. Concrete, do-able tasks help, as does reducing choices and eliminating the paralysis that comes from too many choices.

It is actually not good for anyone to have too many choices, it is better to select one idea, commit to it and get down to work. In our classrooms, sometimes it is the boys who have too many choices and ideas that end up not producing necessary work as they find it hard to focus in on one idea.  

Here are suggestions from David Perlmutter in The Chronicle of Higher Education:

  • Know the due date and understand that work has to be completed. Perlmutter suggests creating mini-deadlines for big assignments and putting reminders in an electronic calendar for each stage. Our boys have access to the calendars on their ipads which can provide alerts and reminders for when work is due and other responsibilities are present. As adults many of us use outlook to set out what is due and when.
  • Be clear about the level of quality that is needed. We want all our boys to do their best but the level of precision required for a fun cross word as compared to a speech which assesses understanding of a unit of inquiry, is very different. Perfectionism is one reason people procrastinate – some boys want to keep working on our homework until it’s flawless. Being able to allocate time accurately depending on the importance of the task is a real skill.

This is in line with the research on the importance of a growth mindet by Carol Dweck. A fixed mindset says everything has to be perfect or I’m a failure. This is detrimental for learning and damaging to young people’s self-esteem and the basis for much of our procrastination in life.

  •  If your boys want to succeed they need to plan. “We all underestimate how much time and effort it takes to do anything worth doing,” says Perlmutter. It is important that our families create a comprehensive and realistic schedule for all homework and major activities, being sure to include everything and allow ample time.
  • Get work done early. Finishing work early, minimises stress, gives boys extra time to review their work before it is due. It also leaves time for family and a life outside of school.

To procrastinate is to be human. In this fast-evolving world of endless digital distractions, it is important our boys are aware of procrastination and mitigate for the problems it causes. As our boys become more self-directed in their learning, they need to be able to break down challenges into bite-sized chunks, allocate time and effort to what matters (and put aside what is not).

The ability to plan their time effectively can make all the difference between stressed adolescents, who are constantly working at the last minute and organised young people who can plan what needs to be done and keep a level of normality and balance in their hectic, exciting lives.

“Later: What Does Procrastination Tell Us About Ourselves?” by James Surowiecki in The New Yorker, Oct. 11, 2010

“Varieties of Procrastination” by David Perlmutter in The Chronicle of Higher Education, May 25, 2012 (Vol. LVIII, #37, p. A39-A40)

“Almost Time to Write. Almost Time…” by Daniela Werner in The Chronicle Review in The Chronicle of Higher Education, Feb. 5, 2010 (Vol. LVI, #21, p. B20)

 

Ben Barrington-Higgs

Pastoral Care – Social and Emotional Learning

Social and Emotional Learning can help students develop the understanding, strategies and skills that support a positive sense of self, promote respectful relationships and build student capacity to recognise and manage their own emotions and make responsible decisions.

Most schools have been teaching Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) for years but now the term is working its way into the public consciousness – and even business leaders are acknowledging the importance of SEL in the workplace. However, there are some broad (and, in some cases, erroneous) definitions out there. To learn more about SEL, what it looks like in the classroom, and how it’s relevant to business, read on.

https://www.edutopia.org/keys-social-emotional-learning-video 

http://www.cfchildren.org/press/about-sel

What SEL Is

  • Recognising emotions in oneself and others
  • Managing strong emotions
  • Having empathy for others
  • Controlling impulses
  • Communicating clearly and assertively
  • Maintaining cooperative relationships
  • Making responsible decisions
  • Solving problems effectively

What SEL Isn’t

  • Kids sitting around in circles singing songs
  • Parenting your kids for you
  • Suggesting you’re not doing a good enough job as a parent
  • Suggesting that today’s generation of kids is somehow broken
  • Psychotherapy
  • Taught at the expense of core academic subjects such as maths, science, and literacy

How SEL Is Taught in Classrooms

Children learn SEL in a variety of ways, including the behaviour they see modeled by the adults in their lives. But SEL can also be taught explicitly in the classroom, in much the same way math or reading is taught:

  • The teacher explains a concept with words, pictures, video, and/or audio
  • Students practice the concept with skill practice, group discussion, individual writing, or partner work
  • The teacher continues reinforcing the concept throughout the week
  • The teacher sends information home for students to work on with parents
  • The teacher checks for understanding
  • The teacher re-teaches where necessary

The development of social skills and a positive mindset are essential for all young people. To support this process each year we run the PALS program which forms part of our Pastoral Care Policy (incorporating Anti-Bullying) together with our use of the Second Step program across all year levels. There is a large amount of research available to support this program which can be found at http://www.cfchildren.org/second-step/research.

Over the years the teachers at Lindfield have collaboratively developed the PALS program and recently adopted the Second Step program to bring together current research on the importance of well-being, social skill development and resilience, and our observations of the needs of our boys.

 

Mr Pascal Czerwenka – Deputy Head of Campus

 

PYP – More FAQs about the PYP

Your son is at a school that offers the Primary Years Programme. This will enable him to experience personal growth as he models the skills, attitudes and profile that we want the students to develop. He is on the road to becoming a World Citizen. In this edition we continue to unpack the Primary Years Programme.

What are the essentials of the Primary Years Programme?

The Primary Years Programme presents a plan for high quality education and provides a curriculum framework of essential elements. These elements are:

The Acquisition of Knowledge:

The PYP has identified themes, or areas of knowledge, which are used to organise the 6 Units of Inquiry, taught from Kindergarten to Year 6. These Units of Inquiry provide the framework for a wide variety of resources to be explored. Six board themes are explored in each class. These are:

Who We Are

Where We Are in Place and Time  

How We Express Ourselves

How the World Works

How We Organize Ourselves

Sharing the Planet

 

The Understanding of Concepts:

There are 8 fundamental concepts expressed as key questions, to propel the process of inquiry. These universal concepts drive the units of inquiry but they also have relevance within and across all subject areas (transdisciplinary). The 8 fundamental concepts are:

Form: What is it like?

Function: How does it work?

Causation: Why is it like it is?

Change: How is it changing?

Connection: How is it connected to other things?

Perspective: What are the points of view?

Reflection: How do we know?

Responsibility: What is our responsibility?

 

The Mastering of Skills:

There are 5 sets of skills known as Approaches to Learning acquired in the process of inquiry. They are:

Thinking Skills

Research Skills

Social Skills

Communication Skills

Self-management Skills

 

The Development of Attitudes:

The PYP promotes attitudes that we want our students to feel, value, and demonstrate.

 

The Decision to take Responsible Action:

Our students are encouraged to reflect, to make informed choices and to take action that will help their peers, school staff, and the wider community. This is how our students demonstrate a deeper sense of learning, by applying their knowledge to service and positive action.

We work with these five elements to construct a rigorous and challenging curriculum that is engaging and relevant to our world and the students.

 

What is a unit of inquiry?

A unit of inquiry usually lasts 6 weeks and it is the aim of each class to cover all 6 trans disciplinary themes (Knowledge) over the year. The unit explores concepts and students will be guided into understanding and investigating a main understanding through lines of inquiry and teacher questions. Parts of a unit are the central idea, lines of inquiry, teacher questions and provocations for thinking, assessments, student inquiries and action and extensive reflections by teachers and students on learning.

 

How do you know what units are done over the years?

The Programme of Inquiry (POI) shows all the units of inquiry that each class will cover during the year. It is designed to enable teachers to guide students through the five essential elements of learning. All teachers plan together to produce the Programme of Inquiry which is reviewed at the end of each year. Each class has six units which are planned following the organising transdisciplinary themes.

 

Why does the PYP say that knowledge is only part of it?

The PYP is all about developing and educating the whole child. Knowledge is important but knowledge is nothing if you can’t apply it. The PYP is focusing on specific skills and attitudes that students need to develop to achieve the student profile.

 

“Educating the mind without educating the heart is not education at all.” Aristotle

 

Sue Gough – PYP Co-ordinator

 

Emotions and Emotional Intelligence

Emotions and emotional intelligence impact every aspect of people’s lives including learning, decision-making, creativity, relationships, and health. Therefore, it is vital that the boys learn how to recognise, express manage their emotions.

In recent professional development Lindfield staff were introduced to RULER program. The RULER program was developed by the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence.  It is designed to teach people of all ages how to develop their emotional intelligence to create a more effective and compassionate society. 

Studies have shown that RULER program enhances learning environments, improves academic performance and decreases aggressive behaviours. One study in particular found that students in classrooms integrating the RULER had higher year-end grades and higher teacher ratings of social and emotional competence compared to students in classrooms not using RULER.  In other words, the RULER program also helps students to develop vital social and life skills such leadership. 

The program uses the word Ruler as an acronym: 

R – Recognising emotions

U – Understanding emotions

L – Labelling emotions

E – Expressing emotions

R –  Regulating emotions

Following the acronym helps children, who often find it difficult to label and express emotions, learn how to identify and understand their emotions using more complex language.  They learn to replace basic feeling words with more sophisticated words and progress from using words like ‘OK’ or ‘fine’ to using words like ‘tranquil’ or ‘serene’. This helps both students and staff handle and regulate strong emotions at school so they can make better decisions for themselves and their community. It also results in fewer incidents of bullying, a more productive classroom and greater student well-being.

How can you help your son develop his social and emotional skills using RULER?

  • Follow the acronym at home
  • Point and out and discuss facial expressions, vocal changes and body language that reflects different emotion to your son
  • Use a wide variety of emotion words with your son
  • Help your son evaluate the best time, place and way to express their feelings
  • Help your son find useful and successful strategies for managing the emotions they experience

 

Patricia Kazacos – Learning Enhancement

 

 

Bracket, M., Rivers, A., Reyes, M & Salovey, P. (2012). Enhancing academic performance and social and emotional competence with RULER feeling words curriculum. Learning and Individual Differences, 22(2), 218-224. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.lindif.2010.10.002

 

 

 

Faith Matters

Knowing the worst, believing the best.

We’ll never really understand God’s love for us without sacrifice; without paying the price to love others. Loving others doesn’t mean much if we only love the people we choose to love, or love them on our own terms, at a convenient time, place, occasion, and in comfortable conditions. Loving those who are different from us in personality, culture, gender, race, background, likes, dislikes, etc., and loving them in spite of their faults – that’s the challenge! Displaying the same kind of sacrificial love, that Jesus lavishes on us, calls for death to self-interest; it goes against our grain!
We’ve a tendency to think that some people are ‘naturals’ when it comes to loving. We think they’re just ‘nice’. We wish we could be like them. Those who follow this line of thinking use it as an excuse for not being loving. They feel absolved of any responsibility to change: “That’s just the way I am. I don’t happen to be outgoing. Loving others isn’t easy for me.” Jesus made it clear when it comes to the way we are to love others. “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another” (John 13:34). Notice the words “As I have loved you.” Jesus doesn’t penalise us for our past, or label us, locking us into it forever. Knowing the worst about us, He still believes the best. And that’s how He expects us to love one another!

Happy Easter

 

Peter Morphew – College Chaplain

Stage 1 – Year 1 Writer’s Workshop

Our journey to becoming published authors is almost complete.  This term Year 1 have been working hard studying mentor texts, thinking about special moments in their lives and developing greater independence with their writing.  

Over the weeks the boys have been looking at what accomplished writers do, how they take seeds of a story and share their thought and ideas in writing.  The boys have grown in confidence, willing to tackle complex words and story ideas, planning their stories using sketching and rehearsing their stories with a trusted writing partner.  As their storytelling abilities have improved so has their writing stamina.

During the unit the boys have explored other writers’ craft.  They have thought of ways to elaborate on their stories, revisiting previously written stories and developing them further.  They have also explored adding speech, ‘show, don’t tell’ descriptions which build the inference skills of the reader and making the text more interesting by adding interesting beginnings and various text features such as bold writing or enlarged font to shape the way readers read their texts.

As we come to the end of the unit we are discovering the ways authors make their work easier for others to read and enjoy.  The boys have engaged in the editing process, checking for spaces, spelling and punctuation.  

As the excitement builds around the sharing of their writing with others, it is with great hope that this moment of celebration will be one which lasts in their memories and builds a lifelong love of writing.

Colleen Chan – Year 1 Teacher

Stage 2 – UOI #2

Years 3 and 4 are very much looking forward to their second unit of inquiry which has the transdisciplinary theme of ‘Where we are in place and time’ where we will be looking at the interconnectedness of individuals and civilisations from local and global perspectives. The Central Idea is “Throughout history, people of diverse backgrounds play a role in continually shaping the local community”. Our concepts are Perspective, Change and Responsibility and the three lines of inquiry are about how historians unlock the past, history of local communities and the interconnection of the past and the present.

The boys will be learning about the number of methods available for historians to unlock the mysteries of the past. This can be done through what is referred to as primary source materials. These are documents from the actual period that the events took place and can include personal letters, official documents and reports, diaries, images, paintings or people recording the actual events at the time. The other method that historians often use to gain a perspective on the period that they’re investigating is secondary source materials. These are the writings of other historians and people who have already used the primary sources available to create their own view of the events.

Our first investigation into the history of the past will be our Walking Tour of the Sydney Rocks area which will be on Tuesday 4 April 2017. This was the first area settled by the First Fleet in 1788. The first buildings were erected there such as Government buildings, accommodation for the convicts, utility buildings and other infrastructure such as bridges, roads, walkways etc. When we undertake the Walking Tour we will also examine the archaeological remains from an area that has been excavated. All this information will enable the boys to gain an understanding and perspective of life in the early convict period in Sydney.

We will also examine how we connect the past with the present. The boys will be able to appreciate what an achievement Sydney is when they consider the city now compared to its early beginnings as a tiny settlement in The Rocks.

We will also enlist the services of the Archivist from Newington, Stanmore, who will show us some artifacts, photographs and other memorabilia from Newington’s past history. The boys will also do their own case study about Newington College.

An understanding will be gained that stories can be created from images. The boys will make assumptions from photographs and create stories from their observations and thinking.

Mrs Russell – Year 4

Stage 3 – Canberra

Developing Independence on the Road

The Canberra excursion is almost a rite of passage for Australian children, and rightly so, it is an experience like no other. So it was with great excitement that Stage 3 arrived early to school on Wednesday 17 March and boarded buses bound for our Nation’s Capital. 

On our first day we visited Parliament House. Apart from being a most impressive building, this is the epicentre of our government. The boys were really excited to enter and visit both the House of Representatives and the Senate. Here we also discovered more about the process of government and how bills were passed during a role play session with our own mock debate. However, the great ‘wow’ moment was seeing Arthur Boyd’s Great Hall Tapestry, the second largest tapestry in the world; its quintessentially Australian landscape reminds us about the majesty of the bush, the importance of our natural heritage and what our future generations have to protect. 

Our visit to the Australian War Memorial was both informative and moving. The children experienced life on a submarine and the unimaginable conditions suffered in the trenches of WWI. They also sat in a helicopter that had served during the Vietnam war and learned more about the humanitarian efforts that our armed forces undertake around the world. In other areas of the museum the children discovered the heroic efforts that our service men and women did to protect our country and the freedom of others. All this culminated in the Last Post ceremony where two of our school leaders laid a wreath in memory of a fallen serviceman. 

The boys were very excited to visit both Questacon and the CSIRO. Questacon was great fun with so many hands-on activities encouraging the boys to think more about the scientific world around us. Of course there was also the free fall jump which pushed many to venture out of their comfort zone. Continuing the scientific theme, CSIRO was wonderful. The boys learned about discoveries which have occurred accidentally but that have now become a part of our day-to-day lives – imagine life without WiFi boys! We were also shown 3D printed bones including a titanium joint that is specific to the patient and significantly reduces recovery time. 

The days on camp are long, there is so much to see and absorb and so our trip to the Australian Institute of Sport was much anticipated. Here the boys, guided by young athletes at the top of their sport, played a variety of action packed games. After two hours tearing around the gyms and courts of the AIS, the boys were ready for a good night’s sleep. 

The Canberra excursion is a wonderful education experience. However, the benefits are far greater than just learning about our system of government or scientific discoveries. The boys are a long way from home over the three days and there are times when this sinks in. Yet it is then that friends step up and help. The care shown by the boys for each other was amazing and helps to build resilience and allow boys to take safe risks. Listening to the talk on the long bus trip back about the things they had seen and the fun they had makes this camp a real highlight for me and one, I am sure, the boys will remember for a long time.  

 

Pascal Czerwenka, Sam Watson, Simon Edwards and Phil Trethewey – Stage 3 Teachers

 

 

 

 

Sport Sport Sport

Term 1 has been full of brilliant sporting moments at Lindfield! Despite having a disappointingly short summer sport season, the boys trained well with their Kickstart and Newington coaches and the efforts of the boys did lead to improvements in skills, although they didn’t get the chance to showcase these due to cancelled games! Hopefully the winter season sees more fixtures able to go ahead! 

The boys have commenced pre-season training with Development Officers from Sydney FC and NSW Rugby overseeing our sessions for the remainder of the term. All winter sport will commence in Week 1 of Term 2. We are very excited to have Koola Park back in action, and will be utlising it as much as possible for both Football and Rugby fixtures. 

As a part of our connection to the Sydney FC Football program, 40 Year 5 and 6 Football players attended the Australia (Socceroos) vs UAE match at Allianz Stadium last Tuesday evening. The boys participated in a March Past around the field before kick-off and were given tickets to attend the game. It was a great night, made even better by witnessing the Socceroos win 2-0. Thanks to all of the parents who came out and supported the event. 

The Combined Primary Cross Country Carnival was a great success at Stanmore! The Lindfield boys shone in both their participation in the main events, and our representation in the Newington Team to compete at IPSHA Cross Country. The boys trained hard in the lead up to the carnival, with many hill runs from the mini field onto the footsal field, and their efforts were well rewarded at the carnival. 

Congratulations must go to Max Yeoland (Year 6) who was selected in the CIS AFL Team and will compete at the NSW PSSA (State) Championships in Parkes in May. Congratulations also to Hamish McIntyre (Year 6) who placed 4th at the IPSHA Diving Competition and progressed to place 2nd in his age group at the NSW CIS Competition, meaning that he will represent CIS at the upcoming NSW PSSA (State) Competition next week.

Eliza Monaghan – Sports Co-ordinator

 

Music – Instrumental Practice

Guide to Instrumental Practice 

“Little bits lots” is a good way to start when beginning to learn an instrument.

5 minutes at the start of the day, 5 minutes when you come home from school and another 5 minutes after dinner.

Leaving the instrument unpacked but in a safe place, especially if it takes a while to set up.

Playing through pieces is not practicing. Questions to ask – what are they going to get better at during this practice. Get them to play the tricky section to you before they work on it and then again at the end of the practice.

String instruments – remember it is the bow that makes the sound. The bow needs to stroke the strings but not push down into the strings. Left hand needs to be in a good shape and fingers go down firmly.

Wind Instruments (woodwind and brass) – at first the muscles around the mouth will get tired and if the boys are breathing in before every note they play, they will get dizzy. Remember to blow all the air out before they breathe in again.

The following guide is just a guide, especially with the length of time. It is proportional. I know that weekdays can get very busy. I get my sons to think of weekends as catch up days. Don’t do extra long practices to make up for missed ones – do a couple in a day – at the start and end of the day.

String Instruments

Warm up – at least 5 minutes

Long bows – 4 on each string making sure that it is the best sound, the bow is straight and the bow hold is correctScales – putting fingers down on each string going up and going down – Left wrist away from the neck of the (violin and viola), elbow at the correct angle for cellos and basses. Making sure fingertips are being used.

Improvisation (playing anything) – 2 minutes

Before reading music, playing anything they like but with a good sound, varying rhythm.

Pieces – about 10 minutes

Practice the harder sections first.

Play these sections at least 5 times correctly.

Say rhythms first. Changing strings is a little tricky so practice these passages.

Play the harder section in context of the piece (not necessarily the whole piece).

Depending on time it might be only one hard section done a practice.

Performance Practice – 2 minutes

Play through pieces that you know well and try and perform them.

Wind Instruments

Warm up – at least 5 minutes

Buzzing on mouthpieces for brass instruments

Long sustained notes

Create a beautiful round sound that plays a note that doesn’t change (or wobble)

Scales – playing as many notes as you know going up and down making a beautiful sound.

Improvisation (playing anything) – 2 minutes

Before reading music, playing anything they like but with a good sound, varying rhythm.

Pieces – about 10 minutes

Practice the harder sections first.

Play these sections at least 5 times correctly.

Say rhythms first.

Changing pitch for brass players and keeping the same valves or slides can be tricky. Get to know how much air, what tension lips need to be to do this.

Changing notes can be challenging for the woodwind players. Playing the note is easy, moving between the notes is tricky. Practice the harder changes within the pieces.

Performance Practice – 2 minutes

Play through pieces that you know well and try and perform them.

 

Vanessa South – Music Mistress

Art – Stage 3

Stage 3 – Our artistic journey so far…

The boys in Stage 3 began the year exploring Indigenous culture and beliefs. In Art we specifically focused on “How can an appreciation of Aboriginal Art lead to understanding and respect?” The boys explored the creation story of the ‘Rainbow Serpent’ and how Aboriginal symbols are used as a means of communication.

After reflecting on the different styles of Aboriginal Art the boys chose their own Australian animal or spiritual being and drew an image on a ceramic tile. The artworks were displayed in the glass cabinet outside the year six class rooms. Each boy has written their own “Art Blog” and reflected on their work during the term. Please take a look at the amazing work they have produced.

Stage 3 have begun their second unit of inquiry delving into how people use the arts to express ideas, perspectives and feelings, with an emphasis on Street Art. After investigating styles of well-known street artists the boys in Year 6 will have the opportunity to create their very own skateboard deck. They will need to design a unique work for their skateboard, using a variety of elements and principles of Art. They will also draw on their knowledge of street artists to design their own original work. I am looking forward to viewing the end product.

Before designing a skateboard deck the boys will understand and appreciate the artwork of Keith Haring. Creating their own designs of moving body images, using bright colours and bold lines. During their investigation into Haring’s work they added symbols and special items to intrigue the observer.    

The boys were also introduced to the work of Jean-Michel Basquiat. Best known for his primitive style. The boys enjoyed critiquing Basquiat’s work and especially enjoyed “loose, spontaneous, and dirty style”. Many boys found it challenging to work in a messy, abstract fashion. That said, there was also quite a few who embraced this type of style of Art!

Kylie Bain – Art Teacher

 

Mandarin

Learning Mandarin?

At Newington Lindfield, we provide Mandarin as the students’ additional language. Many students and parents would probably ask: Why learn Mandarin? Isn’t it the most difficult language to learn? People all over the world learn how to speak English, why do we need to learn another language? How long would it take to learn Mandarin? Why?  

Newington College is a Primary Years Programme (PYP) school. Learning additional languages other than the mother tongue supports students in conceptual development and critical thinking under new situations. Students will learn how to apply their learning, transfer their knowledge from one area to another, and make new connections. In addition, students are encouraged to be open-minded communicators using more than one language.

According to Babbel Magazine, Chinese is the most spoken language in the world. Recently, a friend of mine went to Spain for a business trip. She was at this small traditional Spanish restaurant and was offered a lot of great food. The owner, who can only speak in Spanish, tried to chat with my friend who cannot understand a word of Spanish. While my friend was struggling to understand the owner, a stranger sat nearby who is from Austria leaned over and said to my friend in Mandarin: “He was asking you what would you like to order”.  The Austrian gentleman later told my friend that his Mandarin is better than his Spanish. As for my friend, it was a Wow moment that she would never forget!

Here in Australia, many of our neighbouring countries speak Mandarin as well. If we zoom in to Chatswood, one of the surrounding suburbs near our campus, Mandarin is the second most spoken language after English. It is fun to eavesdrop (practice listening) on other people’s conversations in different languages.

So, is Mandarin hard to learn? Yes and no. It all depends on what a learner wants to achieve (proficiency level) and the learner’s attitude. It’s easy to learn the daily greetings and counting in Mandarin, however, if one wants to be able to read/write/speak/listen in depth, it will take time and dedication as it would to master any language. A great attitude of a learner is another crucial attribute to do well in Mandarin. A closed minded person would find many excuses to justify the reason why they are failing to learn a language.

Cultural awareness is deemed to be one of the integral parts of human communication, it allows us to better understand others and ourselves from different angles. There is a saying, “a language is a window into another culture”. We are preparing our students to become global citizens, nurturing their compassion and understanding towards humanity, stimulating their minds and encouraging creativity.

Our students will become pillars of the society. Learning Mandarin provides the opportunity to see a bigger world. We are ready to prepare and nurture our boys to become all-rounded citizens. It may be a challenging journey but together we can do it!

Eva Angel – Mandarin Teacher

    

 

Thank You from the SRC

On behalf of the Student Representative Council we would like to express our sincere thanks to the school community for the overwhelming response we had to our -­ 

‘Children for Children‘ Appeal

The wonderful assortment of books, stationery, games, and so much more is on route to the north of NSW where it will be distributed to those children who lost so much in the recent bushfires. 

The SRC team