Professional articles from staff at Loreto Normanhurst

The following feature articles  have been published in our school newsletter. They showcase the   dedication of our diverse staff community to educational  innovation and professional growth in their areas of expertise. 

Innovation and Technology Essential in a changing world

Mr Anthony Horth, Acting Head of TAS – September 2020

COVID-19 has created a fundamental change in society across the world. The terms social distancing, contact tracing, and self-isolating have intertwined themselves into our daily conversations, and many of the things we take for granted have changed overnight. However, difficult times have often been the catalyst for innovative solutions to problems, and we are currently amid a revolution… Read more.

Science, discovery and the facts we take for granted

Mr David Little, Head of Science – September 2020

Science has the capacity to constantly amaze. Australian Scientists continue to make discoveries that have the potential to improve our lives. These are as diverse as a new type of flexible concrete made out of waste materials, which is especially suited for earthquake zones; plastic ‘leaves’ that can turn water into an renewable fuel source; and using the shape of a fire to develop a predictive model to help identify the most dangerous fires… Read more.

The role of the humanities in a post-covid world

Mr Michael Rafe, Acting Head of History – September 2020

Studying trends in society and understanding our historical past gives us the  hindsight to be able to look at evidence and data and apply it directly to our approach for the future. In this tumultuous and unpredictable time of recession, rise in unemployment numbers, damage to productivity, and an unstable economic position, we must look forward to a time beyond COVID and prepare ourselves for the new world… Read more.

Theatre and social, cultural, political history

Ms Anna-lea Russo, Head of Drama – September 2020

My study of plays and viewing of live theatre has provided me with the History education that I didn’t get at school (I still regret not studying History for my HSC).  When I consider the plays that our Year 12 students have studied and chosen for their Individual Performances, it is evident to me that they have not only gained an insight into the historical and social contexts in which these plays are set, they have also had the unique opportunity to step back in time and live out some of the most pivotal moments in human history. These include the life and times of Elizabeth I, the experience of a young orphan living in Poland under the Nazi regime, and the grief of an Australian wife whose husband has been sent to the Vietnam War… Read more.

Sugar and spice and all things not nice

Ms Marie Bugge, Head of PDHPE – August 2020

I still very much stand by my philosophy that the best way to make a positive impact on tomorrow’s future is by inspiring today’s generation of future leaders. In PDHPE at Loreto, we have the very important task of mentoring and educating young women in topics such as sexual harassment, domestic violence, body image, pay disparity, flexible working conditions and the media’s (mis)representation of women. In Australia, women still earn 14% less than their male counterparts and there is a significant difference in gender pay rates for those in corporate, medical, media and sporting organisations. In fact, women on average will need to work more than 70 additional days each year to catch up on the earnings of men… Read more.

How to foster organised learning

ms Michelle Albert, MMe Maryse Martin, Mr Martin Pluss – Deans of Learning – August 2020

A Perfect Mess, a publication by Abrahamson and Freedman in 2006, examines the hidden benefits of disorder.  The authors suggest that “messiness is sometimes taken as a sign of weakness” (p96) and they continue to show  that some valuable insights and learning can evolve from messiness.  From our perspective it is important that at least one more step is taken to provide structure to this seeming ‘messiness’ in learning… Read more.

Languages and resilience in ‘Liminal’ times

Mrs Stefania Thomsett, Head of Languages – August 2020

A few nights ago, as I was preparing dinner, the ABC show “The Drum” was on TV. I had to stop to listen to Professor Genevieve Bell, a Distinguished Professor at the Australian National University (ANU). I was fascinated by her explanation of “liminal” time. This is a concept used when a time doesn’t feel like anything else, when it is a time in between times, and when we don’t know what to do or how to navigate it. How many of us in the world are experiencing this feeling right now? …Read more.

CRITICAL COMMUNITY CARE: RESPONDING TO COMMUNITY NEEDS IN A CRISIS CONTEXT

Mrs Kieryn Bateman, Director of Learning – July 2020

Steering a large organisation with multiple stakeholders is complex and challenging on any given day, so how does one respond to the multiple, conflicting and complex needs of such an organisation in the midst of a global pandemic? How does a school uphold its moral imperative to provide clarity, certainty and stability to students and parents when the world around them is in a daily state of flux? Where does the role and responsibility of the school in this domain begin and end? In March 2020, as communities across the world were thrown into a state of chaos, these were the precise questions we faced at Loreto Normanhurst… Read more.

ART-MAKING PRACTICE IN LOCKDOWN

Ms Monica Boardman, Head of Visual Arts – 24 July 2020

Art educators know the importance of the teacher being present with students, they have the role of mentor and instructor physically present to guide students as they learn techniques and processes and wrestle with the complexities of Visual Arts. We, as teachers, focus on fostering an inclusive and challenging learning environment. However, never did we expect the challenging learning environment of what we do most seamlessly – teaching refined technical processes and engage with the materiality of artmaking – to be via a screen as we did this year… Read more.

The IMPACT OF COVID-19 ON TEACHING AND LEARNING

Ms Liz Green, Knowledge & Learning Strategist – 05 June 2020

In 2019 I was the recipient of the Staff Scholarship. My project was around Agile methodologies and schools. In 2019 I wrote, “an organisation can’t simply decide to ‘do’ Agile, rather, shifting to an Agile way of working typically requires significant cultural change in changing the way employees and employers think about work”. Well…

At its core I have come to understand Agile as frequent iteration and continuous learning and improvement. When COVID-19 suddenly turned our shared understanding of a current or present workflow on its head… Read  more.

The Merit (and fun!) of Extra-Curricular

Ms Beth Nairn, Acting Dean of Extra-Curricular – 05 June 2020 

We each have a sense of the fast-paced change occurring in our world and the need for conventional education curricula to evolve and pave the way to a new kind of education and learning.  In the book 21st Century Skills: Learning for Life in Our Times, the authors have premised that “the world has changed so fundamentally in the last few decades that the roles of learning and education in day-to-day living have also changed forever”.  This could not have been more apparent than in the first six months of 2020… Read more.

SPORT equips us for life

Mr Matthew Mulroney, Head of Sport – 22 May 2020

As is often the case, sport imitates life as life imitates sport. The skills that are so valued by athletes are proving extremely useful to navigate the challenges associated with COVID-19. Resilience to be able to react to unexpected circumstances and challenges; adaptability to make the most of the circumstances in front of you; discipline to stick to the game plan and not cut corners; teamwork to acknowledge that goals are easier to achieve when everyone is listening to clear instructions….Read more.

‘FLOURISHING’ – becoming our best selves

Ms Sally Munro, Director of Pastoral Care – 13 March 2020

Flourishing’ is described by psychologist Dr Helen Street (2018), as “an interplay between our best individual selves and our best environment.” It is a reminder about the importance of making space for, and providing opportunities to, explicitly and purposefully enhance a whole-school approach to student wellbeing. It recognises the role of school culture, both explicit and implied that can be a true indication of the well-being potential in a school… Read more.

The Purpose of a Loreto Education -ENRICHMENT FOR EMPOWERMENT

Mrs Kieryn Bateman,  Director of Learning –  14 February 2020

At our recent Staff Development Day our teachers were challenged to consider their purpose as educators within our current global and Loreto context.  They were challenged to consider the imperative asserted within our guiding document, the Loreto Educational Philosophy… Read more.

‘It takes a Village’

Mrs Lynn Long, Deputy Principal – 31 January 2020

The education of a Loreto Girl is truly holistic with our mission at the core of all our work. It does not take long to really appreciate the profound impact of just how imbued the values of Sincerity, Verity, Freedom, Justice and Felicity of this strong tradition are in our way of being in this community.  We certainly look forward to the hope and promise of the year ahead and sharing in the care and growth of your daughters… Read more.

Developing evidence-based opinions and autonomy in learning

Mr Martin Pluss, Dean of Learning –  13 September 2019

We would like our students to develop their own viewpoints and work towards having autonomy in learning. How can we do this in order to achieve evidence-based opinions not shaped by misinformation, myths and falsehoods? How do they develop independence in learning when sometimes their preferred fallback mode of learning is direct instruction? Achieving evidence-based opinions starts with a focus on depth in learning before breadth in learning. Deep learning can start as an individual  action through focused reading, mindful listening, purposeful action and discerning viewing and then built upon through collaborative learning… Read more.

LEARNING HOW TO LEARN AND THE CONCEPT OF ‘GRIT’

Ms Michelle Albert, Dean of Learning – 26 July 2019

We all know that one of the main reasons students attend school is to learn and grow. It is hoped that this learning and growth occurs across a number of different facets of their school life, not just academically. It is important that students today are developing skills such as adaptability, resilience, critical thinking and perseverance that will allow them to be better prepared for the ever changing world that they will be entering when they finish their formal schooling…. Read more.

EDUCATORS AND RESTORATIVE PRACTICES

Ms Beth Nairn, Head of Kuring-gai House –  28 June 2019

 

As educators, we aim to create a learning environment that is supportive and caring. Such an environment entails many factors; however, a highly important one is the quality of relationships. that are developed and maintained throughout the school community. There is a strong correlation between profound learning and effective teacher-student relationships…. Read more.

WHY EMBRACING DIVERSITY MATTERS

Mr Justin Madigan, Dean of Pastoral Care – 31 May 2019

I have been spending a good amount of time this year reading and reflecting on diversity and inclusion in education at a time when our world has become increasingly insular and suspicious about difference. You only have to look at the world’s political stage to see how this is being played out; some leaders are more interested in building walls, restricting migration rates, increasing tariffs on other countries, all with the view to maintain their status quo and not let a so-called ‘different,’ in. Mina Huang, an ambassador for Pearson Campus at Wilfred Laurier University states, “Diversity in education matters, and it plays an important role in helping people make more of their lives through learning.” Read more.

DRAMA AND CRITICAL THINKING

Ms Anna-Lea Russo, Head of Drama – 03 May 2019

Can theatre influence voters in a federal election?  Why are Australian theatre companies in 2019 still failing to put female stories on stage?

Every day in the Drama classroom students find themselves exploring and contemplating big questions… It is in the process of stepping into character, whether it be the clown, the Victorian woman or the the jaded Shakespearean lover, that students spontaneously begin analysing and understanding the perspectives of others. Their ability to approach human situations from a variety of angles sharpens and they gain a greater understanding of their world… Read more.

THE HISTORY OF OUR BEAUTIFUL GROUNDS

Ms Jacquie McCann,  Chief Operating Officer – 06 April 2018

It is a privilege to have the opportunity to share some of the history and intricacies of the site – a place which has served as a home away from home to thousands of boarders and educated many thousands more day students, for over 120 years.

 In 1896, Members of the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary (IBVM) purchased 22 acres of land on the southern side of Pennant Hills Road from the Osborn family. This land was to be used for the Loreto Convent and School… Read more.