Author Archives: Jade Stroud-Watts

Declan and his classmate Liam Brady, also 15, have been studying Indonesian since Year 7. Although neither of them have decided whether they will continue studying the language until Year 12, both chose the language to learn more about one of Australia's nearest neighbours. "It's interesting to … [gain] insight into their way of life and a bit more history about them," Liam says. "There's a lot of different opportunities [that] can involve the use of the language. "If you wanted to join the army, or certain other jobs that involve interactions with other countries, you need to be able to speak a second language."
Our Year 11 students recently participated in a one-day conference called BODi Day. The title is an acronym for 'By Our Deeds: Inquiry'. There were sessions on healthy eating and physical well-being, emotional self-control, mindfulness, yoga and meditation, social connectedness and integrity. In the evening, parents and students were invited back to the school to discuss the nature of ‘meaningful relationships’. The focus of this conference though, was on a couple of big questions: what does it mean to be a ‘good man’, and how can we find happiness and contentment in our lives? Such questions are central to all of us as we navigate through difficult times, and are surely as important in education as Mathematics or History.
In a wonderful TED talk on the ’Transformative Power of Classical Music’, the conductor of the Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra, Benjamin Zander, confesses that at the age of 45, after twenty years of conducting orchestras, he had a revelation. He realized that the conductor of an orchestra is the only person on stage who does not make a sound. The conductor’s entire power lay in his or her ability to make other people powerful. He recognised that his job was to ‘awaken possibility in other people.’ In many ways, his revelation applies equally to Headmasters. Despite Winston Churchill’s lament that ‘Headmasters have powers at their disposal with which Prime Ministers have never yet been invested,’ the reality is somewhat more prosaic. Headmasters are often ‘behind the scenes’ in a school. The bulk of the work that takes place in classrooms is done by teachers, not headmasters. Most of our time is taken up with administration and unending meetings - meetings with teachers, with parents, with students, with architects, with local council officers, planners, neighbours, educational theorists, people who want you to buy something or convince you about something. Our role really, is to provide the structures and support to enable others to become powerful. Our teachers in turn, carry out that role with their students.