Behind the Study Door
Setting high expectations
The notion of 'Growth Mindset' is something we place a great deal of emphasis on at St George's, and indeed it has become a cornerstone of current educational practices. Brain elasticity and the concept of building learning power by focusing on positive thinking has been embraced by leading educationalists as we encourage pupils to believe that if they work hard and keep going, whatever challenges they encounter along the way, they will increase their skills and talents. Developing a Growth Mindset involves having a fearless approach to making mistakes in order to further develop understanding, and ultimately talent, and having the courage to harness effort over perceived talent; after all, research suggests that talent and skills are 75% learned and only 25% in pre-existence.
One of the challenges facing the educational system is how to achieve a hybrid of knowledge and skills, without over testing and pigeon holing our pupils within a very narrow curriculum. Interestingly, little has changed about our way of learning since the Middle Ages when the textbook came into being. Whilst educational methods have progressed since then, the notion of categorising our children into 'those that can' and 'those that can't' still exists in some quarters.
Praising effort is incredibly important, however as our son Arthur has started Reception this term, we have been challenged to consider how we raise the bar high enough for him to aspire to achieve more than he feels he is capable of. Is simply focusing on his effort enough? A message we took away from the Reception information evening on Monday was to try and encourage him to do as much for himself and try not to do anything that we know he is capable of. For a four year old, this involves any number of everyday tasks, and whilst it is often extending the morning (and our patience), is is something we have taken on board. Whatever the circumstances or environment we find ourselves in, if we know our child is capable of doing something, we should never opt for the easy option and do it for them. It makes perfect sense if we are to encourage determination, perseverance, resilience and the capacity to build learning power - all of which constitute a Growth Mindset.
I was also reminded this week not to rely too much on praising children for their effort without challenging them (within reason) to go that extra little bit to try and exceed what they perceive their limitations to be. Does simply telling a child that 'trying their hardest is all we can ask them do do' only serve to place a ceiling on their achievements? A rhetorical question, but one that perhaps we as parents and teachers should consider.
The Carnegie medal winner, Geraldine McCaughrean, has spoken out against publishers for the way that they promote the 'dumbing down' of language in children's literature, maintaining that this will lead to 'an underclass of citizens with a small but functional vocabulary: easy to manipulate and lacking in the means to reason their way out of subjugation'. More widely, her point is a salient one. Are we in danger of dumbing down our expectations for children? If we don't set their aspirations high, we will never know what they can achieve, and when we do, they often exceed them.
At the start of this academic year, we consider the opportunities we have to expand our children's horizons through genuinely interesting and exploratory wisdom. As we set about this, we shouldn't provide a ceiling for their learning power. Setting the bar high and challenging children to stretch their capacity beyond what they think is their limit will truly build this learning power.
Wishing all St George's families a happy weekend, wherever your adventures take you.
Pre-Prep Golden Tree Assembly
Today was the first Golden Tree Assembly this term. Children who had shown kindness to others were awarded leaves on which their individual acts of kindness were written. The children read these out and the leaves will be the first ones to decorate the golden tree.
Prep School Assemblies
Thursday's assembly was led by our School Chaplain, Revd Jonathan Coore, who, with the aid of an unusual blow up pencil prop, encouraged the children to always keep trying and never give up on dreams.
On Friday we were delighted to be joined by Professor R Li-Hua & Dr L Lu who gave a most interesting account about their lives since they left China, and what it takes to be a globally and locally responsible leader. They stressed how important it was for the children to read and to travel, learning about other languages and cultures.
1ST XI Sport Report by Tom Gregory
On Wednesday the first team played a training match against Woodcote School. The team played well for our first match together as a side. We started the match brightly, with some excellent passing and the one two passing and link up play was a particular highlight, resulting in a goal by Harry E. Daniyal P scored our second goal of the match, after a well worked free kick. With the scores level at 2-2 the team switched off and Woodcote raced through and we conceded a goal very late into the match. Our aim in the upcoming games lessons will be to work on passing, in order to keep possession and create more attacking opportunities. On Saturday the team enjoyed the opportunity to brush off the cobwebs at the annual Bishopsgate U13 6-a-side tournament. It was a very competitive tournament with most teams during matches being within one goal's difference of each other.
Coming up in the next few weeks….
We wish all the Year 3 and 4 boys luck in the first Friday football matches of the season against Papplewick. They have prepared well with a full report to follow next week.
The girls have been working hard on developing hockey skills this term and taken full advantage of the training facilities at Eton College. We look forward to hearing how they get on in the first week of Hockey matches next Wednesday and Friday.
Sporting value focus this coming week will be on PURSUING EXCELLENCE. Here are just some of the ways this will been encouraged during match days and lessons:
Parents and staff: Reward attempts to try new things out, regardless of outcome.
Pupils: Encourage creativity during match play. This could include trying a new position, tactic or role within the team.
Parents and staff: Encourage self-assessment of performance to identify areas that need improvement. This should include evaluating the successes as well as identifying targets.
Pupils: Have high expectations of team mates and be positive if things don’t work, but try to evaluate why.
Pupils: 100% effort is required to pursue excellence.
Your child is using ‘Mathletics’ as part of their mathematics program at school. Mathletics is a targeted, rewarding and captivating online learning resource, which is aligned to curriculum standards. Your child has take-home access to Mathletics: they simply sign in with their school username and password using any compatible computer or mobile device. The extra Mathletics practice at home can make all the difference to your child’s progress. Encourage them to achieve a weekly target of 1000 points to earn a certificate, building through bronze, silver and gold across the school year. Go for gold!
You can sign up for free progress updates on how your child is doing by signing up to the parent portal on Mathletics.com
Your child will be bringing home a letter today, with the details of the program and instructions on how to login. Their individual user name and login will also be attached to the letter.
Please contact Mrs Padam should you require any further information.
Maths Puzzle of the Week
Maths and DT Word of the Week
The first week and a half in the boarding house have been happily busy and lively. We have welcomed a new cohort of boarding boys and girls who are settling well in to boarding life. The first Wednesday saw the annual dog walk around Home Park Private on to Home Farm to meet the cows. This is a fantastic opportunity for all boarders to reconnect and discover more about each other’s summer holidays and to learn more about new arrivals to the school. We were accompanied by Mr Svenson, our Boarding Tutor, Mr Wilkinson and Mr Goldsmith, and experienced the most glorious sunset over the royal landscape.
This week, following Mrs Onions taking the junior boarders in to town to spend their £1 on tuck, we played an aquatic version of Quidditch, enjoyed by all! Other evenings have been spent in the school grounds enjoying the remains of the summer weather. It is always great to see such diverse groups – girls and boys, different year groups – happily together playing a game of hide and seek, or tennis, or football, or….whatever they like!
We have already welcomed many new flexi boarders to our Boarding House, and, following a Parents’ Coffee Morning, we are looking forward to seeing many other new faces throughout the year.
If you are interested or simply curious and would like to know more about boarding at St George’s, please do contact Head of Boarding Ally Onions on firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or a tour of the facilities.
Those lucky enough to have their birthdays in the coming week are: Keiran E, Arthur B, Jonty O, Syun P, Reya S, Amaury A, Raphael A, Oliver S, Matilda W, Harriet W-B, Annabelle B, Charlotte B, Sanvir B, Luca S, Molly J.