From the Director of Student Programs

We are working towards many significant milestones over the coming week: the culmination of many weeks of training for our Rowers competing in the Head of the Schoolgirls; the transition to Term 2 Sports; and MAD Night on Tuesday 21 March. However, in the face of all this activity, the cast and crew of the Senior Play have been rehearsing quietly in the background each Friday and Sunday for many weeks. I was fortunate to sit in on a rehearsal of A Midsummer Night’s Dream a couple of weeks ago. It was a part of the play where the ‘Mechanicals’ are working on different ways to presenting a scene from their play Pyramus and Thisbe. The focus and attention shown by the members of this group showed their love and enjoyment of the process of creating a well-crafted performance.

It was clear that the process of rehearsing, practice and gaining feedback from the Director, Mr James Brown, was important in developing the ideas and delivery of each character’s role.  Each delivery of the scene, allowed for the deeper understanding of the character, portrayed by the actors. As Mr Brown says, “Theatre rehearsals are to a play, as cuttings on the editing room floor are to a film. We see the development, the outtakes and the bloopers – the audience see the sum of all these parts.” This process, of providing feedback to achieve an outcome with significant learning in the process aligns with Carol Dweck’s theory of the Growth Mindset, “A mindset, is a self-perception or “self-theory” that people hold about themselves. Believing that you are either “intelligent” or “unintelligent” is a simple example of a mindset.” (1)  Dweck (2015) wrote, “A growth mindset isn’t just about effort…Students need to try new strategies and seek input from others when they’re stuck. They need this repertoire of approaches—not just sheer effort—to learn and improve”. (2)

I encourage you and your families to see the Years 11 and 12 students in partnership with St Kevin’s College perform A Midsummer Night’s Dream during the first week in May.

Carol Dweck’s TED Talk, The Power of Believing that You can Improve, provides simple suggestions to assist the development of a Growth Mindset:

  1. Just the words “yet” or “not yet,” give kids greater confidence, gives them a path into the future that creates greater persistence. We can actually change students’ mindsets.
  1. Praise wisely, not praising intelligence or talent. That has failed. Don’t do that anymore. But praising the process that kids engage in, their effort, their strategies, their focus, their perseverance, their improvement. This process praise creates kids who are hardy and resilient. (3)

These suggestions are easy to implement at School and at home, as teachers and parents, both in simple and challenging tasks. A Midsummer Night’s Dream in rehearsal was a perfect example of praise and strategies with suggestions for improvement. This process of a Growth Mindset is synonymous with the Philosophy our Rowing Program, heading into the Head of the Schoolgirls this week, Process vs Outcome. The focus being on the elements on putting together a good race, rather than focusing on the outcome of the end of the race. We wish the Rowing Team all the best in their racing on the Barwon River this weekend.

We congratulate Year 10 student Demi Markakis on being accepted as a Melbourne Theatre Company (MTC) Ambassador for 2017. This is a year-long program that offers insight into the world of professional theatre. Each month MTC Ambassadors attend an MTC production, meet with artists and staff, and share their experiences of theatre with like-minded peers. MTC Ambassadors are valued advocates of MTC in their school, social and online communities. Upon completion of the program, MTC Ambassadors are invited to join the Young Grads initiative in order to extend the MTC experience and stay connected to other Ambassadors.

Gina Peele, Director of Student Programs