While we move into the Spring weather, I hope you are able to enjoy the sunshine and warmth after the challenging Autumn and Winter months dealing with COVID-19 issues. As I have said previously, I hope you are taking good care of yourself and enjoying the term break before the last term commences.
As you can see from the newsletter, the CaSPA Board has continued to contribute to the educational landscape in Australia. This year it has been very affirming that the Department of Education, Skills and Employment (DESE) and agencies such as AITSL and ACARA have been valuing CaSPA’s and other Peak Principal Associations’ perspectives with numerous consultation requests. More recently there has been consultations with Headspace, Be You and Beyond Blue to explore the well being needs in school communities. Along with the development of the Coalition of Australian Principals (CAP) I hope this level of consultation with the practitioner voice of principals will continue into the future.
The Education Council has met in September to consider some recommendations from CAP and these matters will also be addressed in the December meeting of the Council. These updates are available at http://www.educationcouncil.edu.au/
My very best wishes to you and your school communities for Term 4 and Happy World Teachers’ Day for 30 October.
In the CaSPA Newsletter there is section called Principal Profiles and in the profile Principals have nominated: "A Book I Would Recommend". For future Newsletters I would like to broaden the opportunity for all Catholic Secondary Principals to send in their recommendations with a short summary and a photo of the book's cover. Hopefully you will like my offering below.
CaSPA Executive Officer
The Opposable Mind (Roger Martin)
Roger's book explores not what successful leaders do but rather how successful leaders think. The book outlines the methodology of the research and his findings, which I have found fascinating and practical as a former Principal applying it in my work with College Leadership Teams. The book and Roger's website provided valuable professional learning for all of us in the team. The challenge and function of Integrative Thinking helped us avoid group think, disagree, collaborate, listen and challenge ourselves to develop great ideas ..... not just good ones! The book is an intense read but provides a new way of perceiving the work of leaders and how they can think to achieve continuous improvement.
St Patrick’s Technical College CaSPA Social Action Funding
As CaSPA’s Executive Officer, I recently visited St Patrick’s Technical College in Adelaide. The purpose-built trade training college was the successful recipient of the CaSPA Social Action Funding for 2021. The $5,000 grant will be used by St Patrick’s Technical College to build upon the outstanding work they already do with Vinnies. The College has a close relationship with Vinnies, and in particular with the local Elizabeth Conference. Past projects have included building a dog compound and children’s play area for the Vinnies Women’s Refuge Centre, building and maintaining an annexe at the Elizabeth Fred’s Van, repairing cars for Vinnies clients and also preparing meals for the Fred’s Van mobile food service. St Patrick’s Technical College is a unique trade college offering education, training and apprenticeship pathways to Year 10 to 12 students.
The College is an advocate for Vocational, Education & Training (VET) pathways and for providing students with hands-on experiences and flexible learning options. The College is well placed to provide opportunities for their students to apply trade skills in a range of social action activities in the coming year. The CaSPA Board has approved the College’s initial and long term plans for the local community needs. Pictured with me are College Principal Danny Deptula and the College’s Community, Spirituality and Identity Coordinator, John Neate. St Patrick’s Technical College was delighted to receive this funding and expressed its very grateful thanks to the CaSPA Partners who have made it possible. The CaSPA Board looks forward to hearing more about this project as next year unfolds.
CaSPA Executive Officer
Expert Advice for Building Strong Teacher-Student Relationships
By EducationHQ News Team
Published September 11, 2020
Strong and positive teacher-student relationships are more important than ever this year.
With Victorian students still studying from home, one expert in educational psychology has offered advice for teachers on maintaining positive relationships with students, whether they are attending school or learning from home.
The University of New South Wales’ Dr Rebecca Collie said to EducationHQ that it is not yet well understood how remote learning will affect student-teacher relationships.
“We don't really know the long-term effects and we don't know what's going to happen in the long-term for students who have been remote learning for significant parts of this year,” Collie said.
“But, you know, face to face relationships are really important and most of the research that's looked at these teacher-student relationships has focused on face to face relationships. So we know it's important.”
Collie has extensively researched the impact of positive and negative teacher-student relationships.
One study released last year asked secondary students to rate their relationships with five of their teachers.
“What we found with these students is that the number of positive to negative relationships was linked with their changes in academic engagement over an academic year," Collie said.
“And so [we found that] when students had more positive relationships than negative relationships … this was associated with gains in engagement.
“And we looked at three types of engagement: we looked at their class participation, so how much they actually got involved in the classroom; we looked at their school enjoyment; and we looked at their academic aspirations, what are their intentions for their education going forward, do they intend to continue studying?
“What was really interesting about the findings is that the addition of every extra positive relationship seemed to have a cumulative yield on their engagement. So the more positive relationships they had compared with negative, the higher their engagement was over the course of the year.”
Students having good relationships with their teachers and their peers has also been linked to a range of other positive outcomes, including social development and emotional maturity.
Collie said that there are a few key strategies that teachers can employ to build strong relationships.
One of these strategies is building relationships directly with students.
“So this is really taking the time to interact with students. And so in the classroom teachers can do that, they can make sure they are spending time interacting with each student over the course of a day or a week.
“When it comes to remote learning, this may be by having breakout rooms in video conferencing with a handful of students, so that teachers can really check in and see how the students are coping and going with their work over the course of a week. It's a lot harder on video conferencing though, to really have the time to connect individually with students.”
Also important is what Collie described as “promoting students’ ownership and self-initiation”.
“When students have a sense of ownership in their learning, they're more motivated, they're more engaged, and they tend to do better as well,” she explained.
“And so for teachers, this can involve actions like providing a rationale for why students need to undertake a certain task, explaining to students the value in different activities that need to be done, listening and acknowledging students' perspectives.
“And again, that shows students that teachers are caring and they're interested in what the students have to say. And then inviting input in decision making whenever it's possible and feasible, because this again helps to build that ownership.”
It is also important for teachers to clearly explain goals and expectations to students, Collie said.
Name: Leanne Carr
Current School: St Columba College, Andrews Farm SA
Previous Position: Principal St Joseph’s School, Hectorville SA
First Year as a Principal: 2005
The hope for my current school is: That every student who walks through the gate each day is known, connected to others and enjoys learning.
The Joy of Principalship is: Seeing the amazing work of the staff who go the extra mile to care and support our students.
A Book I would recommend: Any by Tim Winton
Fun Fact about me: Port Power supporter
My valued Well-Being Strategy: Exercise in the morning
Advice for a Beginning Principal: Honour the past. Know your values. Listen first.
Inspiring Leadership Quote: “To me, leadership is not about necessarily being the loudest in the room, but instead being the bridge, or the thing that is missing in the discussion and trying to build a consensus from there.” Jacinta Ardern
What Title would you give to your TED Talk or Book: Putting the Pieces Together.
Name: Lee MacMaster
Current School: St Gregory’s College, Campbelltown (K-12)
Previous Position: College Principal (Prep – Year 12) at St Andrew’s Catholic College, Redlynch (Cairns, QLD)
First Year as a Principal: 2012
The hope for my current school is: That our students across Kindergarten to Year 12 are educated from and with the heart and that through all the experiences they have at the College, that they form a relationship with and come to know God.
The Joy of Principalship is: Working with dedicated staff members who care about young people and want them to be the best they can be. Working with students who ‘get it’ and come on the journey of learning with you.
A Book I would recommend: Educating Hearts – Seven Characteristics of a Good School – Anthony Maher & Bob Hanley
Fun Fact about me: I loved school as a young man growing up – I did not miss a single day of school in secondary school, unless it was for sport representation!
My valued Well-Being Strategy: Spend quality time with my loved ones and surround myself with positive people.
Advice for a Beginning Principal: Listen and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Have mentors that walk with you and can understand your journey. Stay strong, positive and healthy in mind and spirit.
Inspiring Leadership Quote: "Leaders instil in their people a hope for success and a belief in themselves. Positive leaders empower people to accomplish their goals."
What Title would you give to your TED Talk or Book: ‘Inspiring and Empowering Others to Lead with the Benefit of the Rear Vison Mirror.’
Name: Kate Fogarty
Current School: Assumption College, Kilmore
Previous Position: Principal, St Joseph’s College, Echuca
First Year as a Principal: 2009
The hope for my current school is: that we can create life-giving structures and community that ensures wellbeing and autonomy for students and staff so that they can flourish.
The Joy of Principalship is: every day is different and you have the privilege of hearing and sharing in the life stories of so many.
A Book I would recommend: Anything by Daniel Pink (‘Drive’ & ‘When’ have both inspired changes to our school to better meet the needs of students).
Fun Fact about me: When I was young and stupid, I had an eyebrow ring. The scar works as a good instructional point for when I have to ask/help students to remove theirs...
My valued Well-Being Strategy: Having a running machine in front of a good quality TV at home means there’s really no excuse.
Advice for a Beginning Principal: There’s no mistake you that can make that the rest of us haven’t made already (probably many times over) – reach out to your peers for a chat...we can advise, celebrate and commiserate as needed!
Inspiring Leadership Quote: Culture eats Strategy for breakfast.
What Title would you give to your TED Talk or Book: The school snake is on anti-depressants and other things they don’t teach you at Principal School.