From the Principal's Desk
For the editorial this week there is a summary of a talk given at a Professional Development that one of our teachers attended. I thought it was worthwhile reading for parents.
Why are Our Children Underachieving?
How much of your school years do you remember? Did you have time to socialise with your friends? Were your friends the ones who actually spent time with you? Did you talk to each other? Did you keep in contact with each other by personally finding things you enjoyed doing together? Were you able to hold meaningful conversations? Did you spend part of your evening completing your homework by handwriting with a pen or pencil in a paper notebook? Were you able to focus on what others were saying? Could you concentrate in class? Were you mostly happy with life?
Fast forward to the experience of your child in school today. How do they function and learn in the school setting? Is your child able to sustain focus on a homework task? Are they an independent learner with initiative and thoughts of their own? Do they have time to balance up the day at school with outdoor recreation? Do they sleep well and have enthusiasm when they wake up for a new day of school? How well do they process verbal information? How quickly do they learn and retain important concepts? How is their mood and outlook about their future?
Pasi Sahlberg, ex minister of Education in Finland, who now works in Australia at the Gonski Institute within the University of NSW in Sydney, has international experience in looking at trends in student achievement. He has a theory about why the level of achievement of teenagers in Year 9, approximate age 15 years old, are declining worldwide, even in education systems that have a history of international excellence. PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) data provides rankings for each country in how well their students are performing compared to other countries.
What could possibly be affecting students across all of these countries to cause a worldwide decline in key learning skills?
Pasi believes that this is simply because of two significant phenomena affecting today’s students:
1. Decreased sleep (from an average 9 hours per night 20 years ago, teenagers now average 6-7 hours per night)
2. Increased screen time
are causing an epidemic of mood disturbance (anxiety, depression and suicide) in teenage students.
As a side effect of these two phenomena, students are experiencing unprecedented issues with reduced wellbeing. Anxiety, depression and self-harm are increasing in students who have too much screen time and related ‘anti-social media’, where unfiltered and inappropriate communications can go uncensored by responsible adults, parents and guardians. The rise of cyberbullying is contributing to threats to the safety and protection of healthy relationships for children and teenagers.
How are you managing the challenges that screen time is presenting for your child in a digital age?
Learning Support Coordinator
SDA Middle School Stem Challenge
Mountain View entered 3 teams into the Middle School STEM Challenge that took place this week. 12 teams from 4 schools accepted the challenge to design and build a working pedestrian crossing. Efficient use of time and resources were vital to success as construction time was limited. Extensive coding was required and several of the teams did not have a working model when time expired.
One of our teams tied for third place. Their model was well supported by the learning log and product demonstration. Congratulations to Geetaali, Tanisha, Shivalli and Divreet! You represented Mountain View well!