29 Sep

High Performance Education

I was recently reading a Principal’s Digest (Volume 23, #32), and was attracted by the heading “Genius at Work”. The article suggested that many of our Nobel Laureates were in fact unexceptional in their childhood and that Einstein was “slow to talk and dubbed a dull one by a family member”.

The article went on to discuss the latest neuroscience and psychological research that suggests high performance (doing exceptionally well) is a lot more than having a high IQ.

At SPW we recognise that children must be taught the right attitudes and approaches to learning in order to develop the attributes of high performers. These attributes include curiosity, persistence and hard work. As Einstein said “It is not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.”

“It is not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.” Albert Einstein

The article tells us that brains are malleable and that new pathways in the brain can be forged. The same research shows the difference that parents make, if they take part in simple activities at home that support their child.

As part of the same research interviews were conducted with children, and the results indicate that there is strong evidence that the involvement of an adult that unashamedly supports the child’s education and encourages them to work hard and keep trying, help the child become a high performer.

High Performance at SPW
Two recent examples of high performance at SPW have come through persistence and hard work.

This year our Netball School of Excellence children have become the State SAPSASA Knockout Champions in the Primary School Division. Whilst there is obvious talent within this group, what is also most obvious is that they have worked incredibly hard, with lots of self-belief, over many years, with excellent tutelage from their coaches and grand support from their parents.SPW Netball Knockout 2017-3438_web

To watch these children train each Wednesday morning at 8 o’clock, come rain or shine, and to challenge themselves to get better and better, has been most obvious.

As I write this article, two completely separate casts of “The Lion King” are having their first full rehearsals in Baddams Hall for their series of performances this week.SPW Lion King-3739_web

This group of 150 young people has also been challenged to persist through regular practice and unashamed hard work; the bar has been set very high. The children have had great support from a large group of staff and parents, and I believe this has helped shape their belief that they can perform at a highest level, and believe me, they do perform at a high level.SPW Lion King-3720_web

Executive Leadership Team
The pursuit of excellence has also challenged the Executive Leadership Team of the school to reconsider its current leadership structure in readiness for a Term 4 start. Whilst the Executive Leadership Team structure is only undertaking some ‘tweaks’, it is our desire to continuously improve, that has facilitated this change.

From Term 4 Amanda Kelly will assume a brand new role as Head of Learning and Teaching across the entire school, from our 2 year old program through to the end of Year 7, thus providing the opportunity to build a seamless curriculum based squarely on the inquiry approach.SPW_Amanda_1_web

With Amanda assuming this role, Gemma D’Angelo will undertake the role of Head of Early Years with responsibility for all programs from the Early Learning Centre through to end of Year 2, with Simon Theel continuing as Deputy Principal and assuming the role Head of Primary Years from Years 3 to 7.

In summary, we are keen to promote high performers who reach lofty heights, therefore we need to work hard, persist, show true grit, maintain our curiosity for new learning, and accept that things will continue to change. It is then, with the support of those around us, that we all have the ability to become high performers.

Christopher Prance

If you’d like to learn more about what contributes to making children successful, read our article Grit: The Secret to Success article on SPW Live.