At Girton Grammar School, we have a strong belief that rigour in Curriculum design and delivery (pedagogy) is what allows our students to aim high. To put it another way, what is the learning that matters? We also have a culture of testing and feedback so that every student knows where they stand and what is next to do.
How do we overlay curriculum with some of the intellectual skills which allow students to flourish beyond the classroom? How best to instil a knowledge of logic, for example, or to demonstrate that problems often have multiple solutions? Part of the answer can be sought from the teaching of Philosophy because one of philosophy’s great hallmarks is critical thinking and reasoning. The habits of the mind that come from studying philosophy help us to be better informed, thoughtful and rational, as well as establishing a positive influence on clear communication in reading, writing, and speaking.
With this is mind, I am delighted this year to have renowned Australian philosopher, ethicist and author, Professor Dean Cocking, join us as our “Thinker in Residence”. Professor Cocking’s soon to be published book, “Evil Online”, demands that the reader take a deep breath before diving in. It is an excellent resource for anyone interested in contemplating some of the disturbing social and moral trends that have emerged online in recent years.
Professor Cocking will be at the School weekly, visiting our Senior Philosophy, Psychology and Literature and many other classes and you can read more about his involvement with the students in the next edition of eLink.
Also, relevant to the digital world that young people inhabit, was a visit this week from the well-known adolescent phycologist, Dr Michael Carr-Gregg, who has been visiting the School for fifteen years and presenting to our Year 9 cohort and their parents on a range of matters related to student wellbeing. One interesting digital app that Dr Carr-Gregg spoke about was “Cold Turkey”, which enables other apps, such as Snapchat and Instagram, to be turned off for a specified time, whilst allowing the user access to the Internet. Self-managing, whether it be of digital devices or any other aspect of life, is one of the most effective ways for young people to feel in control of their own lives.
It was my privilege today to host a Headmaster’s Tour for prospective parents and students. It is such a pleasure to walk around the school and to know that our visitors will leave having experienced the positive ‘hum’ of the School that we as teachers, experience every day.
Please enjoy this edition of eLink and the long weekend ahead.
Matthew F. Maruff