From the Headmaster

in Headmaster

Cultivating intrinsic motivation and the sense of value that follows is one of the most important things a teacher can understand. The carrot and stick method of motivation works, but the result is usually short-term and produces behaviour or work of low quality. Conversely, when a person understands the ‘why’ of what they are doing, engagement is willing, the reward is clear and drive is self-determining. There are many examples in our school of intrinsically motivated students who are guided by teachers who understand the importance of giving our students ‘wings’ and the Junior School and Senior School Ensembles concerts last week are perfect examples.

The high quality of engagement in the performing students translated directly to the high quality of output from the very youngest, to the oldest students on stage, who sang and played their hearts out for family and friends. The students’ autonomy on stage was clear and competence in their craft gave them the confidence to produce beautiful music. My heartfelt thanks to the students for sharing their hard work and to our highly skilled Music teachers for cultivating intrinsic motivation in their students.

There was motivation a-plenty in the students who competed in the grueling 14km City to Surf fun run in Sydney on the weekend. Twenty-four students put hours of training to the test at the world’s largest fun run and represented the school with pride. Xavier Dole (9 Frew) ran a particularly stunning race, breaking the 1-hour mark on the hilly course and finishing 13th in his age category and 846th overall amid a total field of more than 80,000 competitors.

A range of ‘friendlies’ has taken place on the sporting field in the past weeks including Junior School Football and Netball teams competing against Ballarat Grammar and a Senior School Football team playing against Carey Grammar this week. The history of these games creates a friendly competition for our students to enjoy and to make connections beyond their own community.

Well done to the students who represented the school at the School Sports Victoria State Finals this week in Senior Girls and Senior Boys Table Tennis and Girls Intermediate Badminton. All students competed valiantly and well done to the Senior Girls Table Tennis team for making it through to the Finals.

As we celebrate National Science Week, I am very pleased that so many students have elected in the past two weeks to take part in a range of STEM opportunities outside the classroom. Students have challenged themselves in a range of ways including taking part in the following competitions; the Amazing Spaghetti Machine competition at the University of Melbourne, National Science Olympiad examinations, the Australian Mathematics Competition, the ICAS Mathematics Competition, the annual Science and Engineering Challenge and the Big Science Competition, in which 25 students received High Distinction certificates, placing them in the top 5% for their year level in Australia.

We welcomed Year 6 students from the Junior School and from outside Girton to the school this week for their first Year 7 Transition Day, introducing them to the Senior School campus, students, and teachers. It was wonderful to see our Year 6 students looking after students who are new to the school and to see new faces from Bendigo and beyond excited about joining us next year.

We also hosted a very enjoyable Open Evening in Castlemaine this week, inviting prospective parents to find out more about the school and bringing together current school families from the Mount Alexander Shire. For those who travel further than most to come to our wonderful school, it was an opportunity to familiarise and enjoy each other’s company as well as to collaborate on some practical transport arrangements.

On 8th September, I will be travelling to Boston as part of the Harvard University Leading Learning that Matters program. I will be involved in over two weeks of instruction and immersion with a small group of experienced independent school Principals working with the Project Zero team from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Together we have been working to identify the leadership practices that are needed to explore, plan and implement school innovations for 21st-century learning. I am very much looking forward to the next chapter in this exceptional two-year leadership program. I will also be visiting the Horace Mann School in New York to explore a range of programs and to learn more about their experiences related to implementing the RULER Approach for emotional intelligence.

When we step out of our normal life, there is a realignment of who we are and how we relate that results in rewarding and useful new perspectives and this is what I am most looking forward to on my imminent trip.

In my absence, my esteemed Deputy, Mrs. Robyn MacCulloch, will be the Acting Head.

Matthew F. Maruff
Headmaster