High Notes, Vol 17 No 39, December 09 2016

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From the Principal

I am pleased to announce that the Scholarships Committee (comprising K. Jaggar, J. Chan and R. Gifford) has met to appraise the encouraging number of applications for our two school scholarships. The Phillip Day Memorial Scholarship was awarded to Alexander De Araujo (10R). Alexander will receive a voucher of credit on his school account to the value of $1500. Congratulations, Alexander! The Sir Roden and Lady Cutler Foundation Scholarship for 2017-18 was awarded to Nishant Suriyadeepan (10F) who receives school vouchers for $1500 for two years. Well done, Nishant! Jack Horton (10M) was recognised by the Committee and given an Encouragement Award of $200.

Thank you to all those boys who applied. It was certainly hard to pick a winner from among the impressive applications. Boys in junior years are invited to apply again next year.

Collection of Reports
All boys, except those in Year 10, should have collected their reports. Regrettably, there are still many boys who have not fulfilled their commitments and completed their Clearance Forms and booked an appointment time to see me to discuss their progress at school. This is an important step in our feedback loop and I insist on speaking to boys personally. Boys can come and get their reports before or after school and at lunch or recess on most days. There are also sheets provided for ‘Stragglers Reports’ for an hour or so on selected days. Boys just need to make an effort to comply with policy and come and see me. Once I have had a short feedback session with each boy, his report is loaded online against his personal file on Find a Student. Parents are urged to sort out any outstanding issues and encourage their sons to book a time to discuss their learning before the opportunity for this year is lost.

Weights Room
A reminder to all boys who might have weights training as a requirement in their regime for a GPS sport. As was the case for 2016 it is proposed that no term memberships will be offered in 2017 for the Weights Room.  Boys who restart after absences of a term in the Weights Room have to be retrained by Kurt when he should be concentrating on adding value to the experience of existing members. Students requiring memberships should pay $240 by February 28, 2017. No further membership opportunities will be offered after that date.

Summer Sport Co-payments: Term 4
The rolls for summer sports and activities have now been finalised. In many activities co-payments are levied for the season – in this case Term 4, 2016 and Term 1, 2017. Other sports have a policy of fixing co-payments on a term-by-term basis. In either case, invoices have now been posted. For Years 7-10 this means that the summer invoice will be included on individual Clearance Forms. These will need to be cleared prior to boys receiving their reports. The base co-payment for sport for a season is $152 for 2016-17, as adjusted for on costs. Higher charges are levied by individual sports as a result of a resolution by the P & C Sub-Committee responsible for supporting that particular sport. It would help the MICs for these sports greatly if families could pay for their sports in the next ten days.

Why Learning a Second Language is Vital to our Global Future - R Vukovic (Australian Teacher, February 2016)
Learning a second language improves the brain’s cognitive processes. More than 350 languages are spoken in Australia. The number of Year 12 students studying a language has dropped from 40% in the 1960s to 12% this year. Victoria plans to make studying a language to Year 10 compulsory by 2025. Regrettably, with no land borders as an impetus, Australia does not seem to value speaking a second language.

Proficiency in French would take c 660 hours for an Australian but the same level would take 2500 hours in Chinese. Popularity - Japanese, Italian, Indonesian, French, German, Mandarin. Lack of focus in teacher training and methodology because of the number of languages offered. Professional learning is harder too. Other countries specialise in one or two second languages.

Benefits of bilingualism: Learning a second language helps you to understand and be more efficient in your first language. You can then communicate with others in a globalised world. It can strengthen intercultural understanding. Different people think and operate differently in different languages. What is normal for them is different for you. It is training in appreciation of diversity: cultural knowledge, traditions and ways of seeing the world.

In 1950 9% of the world spoke English. Now it is 5.6% It appears 59% of educators believe their school values the importance of learning a language other than English. Also, 66% of educators believe the languages taught in schools should reflect Australia’s multicultural population.

For all of these cogent reasons advanced in Vukovic’s article, I exhort boys and their parents to consider why languages study is an integral part of our curriculum. In addition, there are lifelong advantages to be gained from taking the two compulsory years of languages study seriously.
Dr K A Jaggar

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