28 April 2017
We have had a very busy start to Term 2 what with a full school Student Protection and Blue card Audit, High School Musical and many ANZAC services, not to mention our core business of learning and teaching.
I was so proud of our students, supported by hard-working and nurturing staff, as they danced, sang, acted, created backdrops, moved scenery and worked tirelessly on all the other jobs associated with a musical. After all this, they arrived at school fresh faced and ready to work on Monday. My heart was certainly warmed on Tuesday morning at 4.50am when I arrived at the Aquatic Carpark to find two busloads of boarders ready to pay their respects to the fallen at the Dawn Service. Girls were offered the opportunity to go to the service, and their attendance is purely voluntary.
I would like to thank all the staff who put in so many hours to ensure that the musical was the wonderful success that it was; in particular: Ms Elms, Ms Evans and Mrs Budden who have been working with the students for months.
I regularly turn to Carol Dweck and her research on the Growth Mindset for inspiration and ideas for articles. The concept of a Growth Mindset is one that we encourage our students to adopt, and teachers support them in this. As part of developing this mindset within students, Dweck has done studies into the most appropriate way of praising children. Judith Locke, a leading Australian psychologist and author of The Bonsai Child, echoes these ideas in her numerous books and presentations on parenting. I would like to share an article by Katrina Schwartz called Giving Good Praise to Girls: What Messages Stick:
How to praise kids: It’s a hot topic for many parents and educators. A lot of the conversation around it has stemmed from studies by Carol Dweck, professor of psychology at Stanford who has been researching this specific topic for many years.
“My research shows that praise for intelligence or ability backfires,” said Dweck, who co-authored a seminal research paper on the effects of praise on motivation and performance. “What we’ve shown is that when you praise someone, say, ‘You’re smart at this,’ the next time they struggle, they think they’re not. It’s really about praising the process they engage in, not how smart they are or how good they are at it, but taking on difficulty, trying many different strategies, sticking to it and achieving over time.”
But what some might not know is that this paradox is strongest for girls.
Dweck’s research, which focuses on what makes people seek challenging tasks, persist through difficulty and do well over time, has shown that many girls believe their abilities are fixed, that individuals are born with gifts and can’t change. Her research finds that when girls think this way, they often give up, rather than persisting through difficulties. They don’t think they possess the ability to improve, and nowhere is the phenomenon stronger than in maths.
“We have research showing that women who believe maths is an acquired set of skills, not a gift you have or don’t have, fare very well,” Dweck said. “Even when they have a period of difficulty and even when they’re in an environment that they say is full of negative stereotyping.” This research suggests parents and educators should rethink what implicit and explicit messages are being sent to young girls about achievement.
If adults emphasise that all skills are learned through a process of engagement, value challenge and praise efforts to supersede frustration rather than only showing excitement over the right answer, girls will show resilience. It also might help to provide a roadmap to correct the gender imbalance that already exists in fields requiring maths and science, jobs that often involve setbacks, “failing,” and overcoming challenges.
“The kids who are getting this process praise, those are the kids who want the challenge.”
Dweck has found that socialisation and beliefs about learning ability are developed at early ages. “Mother’s praise to their babies, one to three years of age, predicts that child’s mindset and desire for challenge five years later,” Dweck said. “It doesn’t mean it is set in stone, but it means that kind of value system — what you’re praising, what you say is important — it’s sinking in. And the kids who are getting this process praise, strategy and taking on hard things and sticking to them, those are the kids who want the challenge.”
Dweck understands it isn’t easy to praise process and emphasise the fun in challenging situations. Kids like direct praise, but to Dweck lauding achievement is like feeding them junk food – it’s bad for them.
An implicit argument here is that failure in small doses is good …“If you have little failures along the way and have them understand that’s part of learning, and that you can actually derive useful information about what to do next, that’s really useful,” Dweck said.
She believes families should sit around the dinner table discussing the day’s struggles and new strategies for attacking the problem. In life, no one can be perfect and learning to view little failures as learning experiences, or opportunities to grow could be the most valuable lesson of all. (Schwartz, 2013)
Reference: Schwartz, K. (2013). Giving Good Praise to Girls: What Messages Stick. [online] MindShift. Available at: http://ww2.kqed.org/mindshift/2013/04/24/giving-good-praise-to-girls-what-messages-stick/ [Accessed 12 Jul. 2015].
Mrs Kim Cohen
20 April 2017
Welcome all new families and welcome back all ‘old’ families to Term 2 in the Year of Possibility. I trust that you and your families had a rejuvenating and blessed Easter.
This term we welcome back Kaye Broadfoot from Long Service Leave and Sandy Cox who will be filling in for Katrina Cutcliffe who will be on leave for Term 2.
There are also a number of staff who are in Acting Positions whilst others are on leave:
- Alison Bedford: Acting Deputy Head of Senior Years
- Jennifer McPhie: Acting Head of Middle Years Science
- Amy Theobold: Acting Head of Senior Years Science
- Sue Watts: Acting Head of Physical Education
- Jason Wisley: Acting Head of The Arts
We also welcome to The Glennie family, Franklin John Edwin Hede. Frankie was born on 12 April to proud mum, Crystal Hede, Head of Physical Education, and dad, Michael. Congratulations to the Hede family!
As you will have already heard we will no longer be taking part in the NAPLAN Online Trial that was supposed to be happening in 2017. We were to be one of 12 independent schools in Queensland to take part in the trial. We undertook a range of preparation and readiness activities to ensure that staff and students would be prepared for the online test. The independent schools decided to withdraw from the trial after concerns were raised by the Education Minister in light of unacceptable problems encountered during pilot tests were run by Ed Queensland. We are not prepared to have our students disadvantaged by the technology. (Since first writing this article, all states have withdrawn from NAPLAN online: http://www.smh.com.au/national/all-australian-states-abandon-online-naplan-due-to-glitches-20170419-gvnj6j.html )
Parker Palmer in his book, A Courage to Teach (2007), says, ‘There are no formulas for good teaching, and the advice of experts has but marginal utility. If we want to grow in our practice, we have two primary places to go: to the inner ground from which good teaching comes and to the community of fellow teachers from whom we can learn more about ourselves and our craft’ (p146). With this quote in mind and in the spirit of rising to challenges in the Year of Possibility, teachers will be welcoming colleagues into their classrooms to watch them teach. They will learn from each other by observing lessons and giving and receiving constructive feedback. This term I will move my focus from meeting with all staff to spending time in classrooms across both campuses, to gain deeper insight into the teaching, student engagement and learning that is happening across the school.
Wishing you a blessed weekend and week ahead.
Mrs Kim Cohen
29 March 2017
I have been thinking a lot about the power of silence as I am continually bombarded by the beeps, pings, chimes and rings emanating from all the devices I have dotted around my home and office, as well as those belonging to my family, colleagues, friends and passers-by on the street. Not to mention the continual Rugby commentary emanating from the lounge room! Oh for the sound of silence – that rare commodity; parents long for it and adolescents shy away from it.
As the girls come to the end of a very busy term and embrace their free time, I would like to reflect on the importance of silence and its benefits. It is so seldom that we can take a while to enjoy a moment in this bustling world, and yet it is so important that we do. All too often we have the TV blaring in the background, our children reach for the radio/IPad/mobile phone the minute they climb into the car and, of course, the incessant variety of sounds emanating from our phones and computers reminding us that we are on call 24/7. Is it any wonder that they, and we, are frazzled at the end of the day – only to have sleep interrupted by vibrations and buzzes from our ‘silenced’ technology? We seem to constantly feel the need to be in touch, to be stimulated and engaged mentally.
Yet there is a lot of research regarding the benefits of silence to one’s health. Noise and especially noise over 30 decibels is associated with high blood pressure, anxiety, and stress. Dr Paul Haider (2012) in his article, The Health Benefits of Silence – Simple Yet Profound, lists some of the benefits of silence:
- Silence lowers blood pressure and allows you to deal with life’s challenges in a better way.
- Silence is like plugging in your phone… your mind needs to recharge too… and it does more recharging in silence than it does during sleep.
- Silence boosts your immune system… making it easier for your body to fight off invading bacteria and other pathogens.
- Silence makes you happy, spending time in silence boosts your brain chemistry… and as a great side effect you’re able to focus better too!
- Silence reduces stress (lowers blood cortisol levels and adrenaline levels) which is the biggest killer in the world… adding 30 minutes of silence a day can change your life.
- Silence allows for good hormone regulation and interaction of all the hormone related systems in your body.
- Silence helps your brain to become more interactive, thus you work with more of your brain… leading to higher cognitive abilities.
It would be wonderful if, during the holidays, our daughters could take 5 to 15 minutes (or more) every day to immerse themselves in silence – no music, no phone, no computer. Understandably this may be uncomfortable for them and would require a certain amount of willpower. Susan Leigh, of Lifestyle Therapy, understands that this can be difficult; she says ‘Silence requires us to become more confident, confident in our ability to be quiet and still, to find an inner peace that can enable us to sit and enjoy the silence… It is enough to just be there, in a relaxed, comfortable state of mind’. For those who cannot bear the thought of doing nothing for a few minutes they could fill this time with silent prayer, learn to meditate, read a passage that requires some contemplation or spend time reflecting.
As you can see from Dr Haider’s list, embracing silence and being comfortable with one’s own company can be a wonderful way to reduce stress at the same time as being very therapeutic. In the words of Lao Tzu, Silence is a source of Great Strength.
Wishing you all a blessed and peaceful holiday and Easter weekend.
Mrs Kim Cohen
24 March 2017
On Friday 17 March I received a letter from Sherril Molloy, Executive Director Anglican Schools Commission. I have included snippets of it below:
Today the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse began a public hearing into the Anglican Church of Australia at which data from a national analysis of complaints of child sexual abuse reported to dioceses between 1980 and 2015 was revealed.
As expected, the figures for the Diocese of Brisbane were shocking, shameful and profoundly disappointing. The Diocese of Brisbane was found to have had the highest number of allegations of any diocese in Australia (371); the highest number of perpetrators (208) and the highest number of complaints to schools (173).
The figures were expected, not just because of the shocking abuse cases unearthed within the Diocese, but particularly because of how the Diocese of Brisbane handles allegations of abuse.
In her opening address to the Inquiry today, Counsel Assisting Gail Furness, SC, virtually singled out Brisbane as the only diocese in Australia that requires the diocese to be notified of all allegations of child sexual abuse in schools.
This is important as the data collection project only requested child sexual abuse data held by dioceses alone. Anglican Church dioceses were not asked to provide information in relation to complaints from associated institutions (such as schools) if information about those complaints was not already contained in diocesan records. In other dioceses, allegations of child sexual abuse in schools are handled by the school and not reported to the diocese.
In addition, the Brisbane Diocese has, for more than a decade, actively sought out survivors of abuse to encourage them to come forward to receive care and assistance.
This may go some way to explaining why Brisbane’s figures in relation to schools are so high, and while the figures from other major metropolitan dioceses are so low. It does not, however, explain away the fact that the Diocese of Brisbane had so many horrifying cases of abuse as there can be no justification for the failure of the Church and schools to protect children in our care.
Please be aware that at The Glennie School we have strict child protection policies and procedures in place, and all our staff undertake significant, regular training in this regard. The measures put in place to better protect children at Glennie (and other Anglican Schools) include:
- We have seven trained student protection officers who are supported by a former police detective inspector, a current police detective senior constable and a former State Government senior child safety officer at Anglican schools Commission.
- All staff have regular training to keep them up to date on legislation and issues about child protection.
- All potential employees undergo screening and have the legislated requirements to work with children.
- Background checks are done on all potential employees, undertaken by the Director of Professional Standards.
- There is mandatory reporting of any and all allegations (or suspicions) of child sexual abuse, to the Principal, the Director of Professional Standards, the police and the State Government.
- We have regular independent school safety audits to ensure child safety.
In support of the Anglican Schools’ Commission and The Glennie School’s commitment to child safety, we will be undergoing an Independent Student Protection and Working with Children Compliance Audit from Wednesday 19 April to Friday 21 April 2017.
Mrs Kim Cohen
17 March 2017
The Glennie family has once again shown its incredible community spirit as we celebrated the wonderful Glennie Fair together on Sunday, and what a joyful event it was. Huge thanks need to go to everyone involved; I wish I could name you all individually but I know that there were so many working behind the scenes and I would definitely leave someone out. It would be remiss of me, however, not to mention Jason Lipp and Sharon Wilmington, as well as all the hardworking members of the P & F, our facilities staff and the School’s development office, as well as all the teachers who worked on the day. I would also like to make mention of the Glennie Old Girls Committee, Mr John Devine, Ms Teresa Mundt, Mrs Lynda Shapcott and Mrs Cindy Ryan, who together created a very successful and highly enjoyable art exhibition.
Today we farewell our visiting students and staff from Kyoto Girls Junior High School. These visits are not only of great value to the Japanese students, but also to our own girls. All students who interact with our visitors learn something new about another culture and many create new and lasting friendships. I would like to extend my thanks to those who hosted the girls and I hope that your families were enriched by the experience. Thank you too to Ms Megan O'Reilly for her amazing organisation of the tour.
Mrs Kim Cohen
Photo galleries and video clips
10 March 2017
From the Principal
On Wednesday I addressed students on the importance of being feminists, not the slogan shouting, aggressive, man-hating minority of old, but rather those committed to the true meaning of the word. That is: the advocacy of women's rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes. I have tasked our girls to be strong, to always question and to stand up to those who may try to bring them down due to lack of knowledge or understanding. I have tasked our girls to ensure that they do not accept sexist comments or put downs and that they educate their brothers and friends in the true meaning of the word. They can do this by encouraging them to actively support equality in all spheres; education, employment and leadership, to name only a few.
After my address, Anthea Moodie totally outshone me in her presentation to the girls. I have shared it below:
It has been my honour to be asked to speak to you all today, so without any further ado, I’ll get going.
So how many of you have brothers? How many of you have an older brother specifically? I know, I know today is about empowering women, but this is where I’ll begin. I personally have two older brothers, not just a little bit older than me, but quite a few years. They have always expected me to keep up with them and there was no slowing down for me as a little girl. I was treated as one of them, watching footy games as well as trying to play along myself. Of course, they were always stronger, always better and faster too. However, being my usual competitive self, I would strive to be as great as they were in every aspect of life. But now as I’ve grown older I’ve had a change of perspective. Why should I be the one trying to be like them? Why can’t I be the one they’re constantly striving to be stronger than, better than and faster than? Why can’t I be bold?
This has been a thought I’ve kept in the back of my mind throughout my sporting career. My brothers were always interested in my achievements, constantly messaging poor Mum as I completed each jump. Their interest in what I was doing and achieving was, and still is, motivating in itself. In simple terms I just wanted to “show them up”, and in some ways, I feel as if I have. Now that I have two nephews and another on the way, I want to aim to be someone they can look up to, regardless of my gender. I want them growing up believing that both men and women can be role models, that gender creates no barrier no matter the circumstance. This is why I choose to be bold.
As you all already know, this year’s theme for International Women’s Day is Be Bold for Change. But what does the term bold specifically mean? “Being bold” can be defined as a person who shows a willingness to take risks, being confident and courageous in their actions. I know for myself and possibly for many of you, I hear the term “risk” and think, skydiving, bungee jumping or doing a backflip. But for us as women, taking a risk can be something as simple as voicing our opinions, standing up for ourselves and what we believe in, having the confidence to express the person we truly are in any and every way possible. Because in the end, who is the person you spend every single second with? The answer is simple, ourselves. The woman who does not require validation from anyone is the most feared individual on the planet. There is no reason why we, shouldn’t be bold.
The terms ‘bold’ and ‘change’ fit hand in hand. For women, being bold leads to something more, it leads to change within ourselves, our actions and effectively, the world around us. As Leon Brown once said, “for every positive change you make in your life, something else also changes for the better – it creates a chain reaction.” And for this reason, I cannot stress how important it is that we, as an all-girls school, empower each other. What a wonderful opportunity we have been given as young women to have the chance to inspire one another for the whole 36 weeks of the school year. There will never be another opportunity like it. So why should we wait? There is nothing to lose yet so much to gain, but we sit back in fear of being bold. We all need to be bold, not only bold but bold for change.
With a frame of mind like this, all of your dreams and aspirations will fall into place. Never doubt that there will be hardships, there will be negativity and people around you who tell you, you can’t. For myself with a sporting background, I’ve experienced these lows time and time again. Injuries are common, training sessions are gruelling, competitions very rarely meet with your self-expectations, and I ask myself why do I continue? It is the drive to be bold, the drive to have the courage to sacrifice and take risks. And also because I want to continue to show my brothers up. Each and every one of you sitting before me today can relate to me, you all have your very own reasons to continue your drive and to empower one another. We are women, and we will celebrate International Women’s Day. But why limit ourselves to be inspired for a short one day of the year? There are no limits; together - you, and you and you and you - all of us, all of the women in the world can Be Bold for Change.
Mrs Kim Cohen
3 March 2017
Recently I spoke to a teacher who has just returned from spending her entire Christmas break working as a volunteer teacher in a small town on the Burmese border. She spoke of the abject poverty and dirt in the town, but what made the biggest impression on her was the respect and gratitude that the students in her very cramped classroom displayed each and every day. They had so little, but they were so grateful for the opportunity to get an education that they disregarded the conditions of their learning and just savoured the opportunity to learn.
I often speak to students about the importance and benefits of being grateful. One of the topics that I have touched on is the acknowledgement of awesome things in the world around us. It is so easy to go through a day without noticing the little things; the smell of rain on a dusty road, the tear on a baby’s eyelash, the love of a pet dog. When we take time out to notice and appreciate these things – smell the roses if you like – our world becomes a better place. One of my favourite websites is called 1000 Awesome Things, it can be a great source of inspiration and can bring a smile to the most hardened hearts. Some of the examples of awesome things that it lists are: seeing wildlife when you’re not expecting it; getting the eyelash out of your eye; picking up a q and u at the same time in scrabble; and (I love this one) intergenerational dancing. Silly I know, but just reading them and thinking, ‘that’s good’, can make you feel warm inside and grateful for the smallest things. Things that we take for granted. You can find it here http://1000awesomethings.com/
Robert A. Emmons in his book Thanks! How practicing Gratitude Can Make You Happier (2007), defines gratitude as ‘the acknowledgment of goodness in one’s life . . . and recognising that the source(s) of this goodness lie at least partially outside the self’. It is well documented that a person’s sense of wellbeing can be closely linked to their sense of gratitude and even more so if a person takes time out every day to write just one or two things for which they are grateful. It is therefore worth encouraging our daughters to take notice of the world around them and frequently (daily if possible) write or sketch something for which they are grateful – be it a bowl of breakfast cereal or a banquet at a restaurant, an iPad or a pen, a parent or Senior Resident . . . If they do this in a special book meant specifically for this purpose, it could become something that they may look at in years to come with appreciation.
Gratitude is a skill that needs to be practised, Martin Seligman, founder of the Positive Psychology movement, explains:
We think too much about what goes wrong and not enough about what goes right in our lives. Of course, sometimes it makes sense to analyse bad events so that we can learn from them and avoid them in the future. However, people tend to spend more time thinking about what is bad in life than is helpful. Worse, this focus on negative events sets us up for anxiety and depression. One way to keep this from happening is to get better at thinking about and savouring what went well.
For sound evolutionary reasons, most of us are not nearly as good at dwelling on good events as we are at analysing bad events. Those of our ancestors who spent a lot of time basking in the sunshine of good events, when they should have been preparing for disaster, did not survive the Ice Age. So to overcome our brains’ natural catastrophic bent, we need to work on and practise this skill of thinking about what went well.
Emmons, R.A. (2007), Thanks! How Practising Gratitude Can Make You Happier, Houghton Mifflin Company, USA
Teaching staff going on leave
As we approach the end of term, it is timely to inform you of some temporary staff absences over the next few terms due to staff on Long Service or Maternity Leave. All of this leave has been planned and arrangements made well in advance to ensure the least disruption to student learning.
- Mr John Farmer
- Ms Sue Contarini
- Mrs Sharon Gilbert
- Ms Kathy O’Brien
- Ms Crystal Hede (Maternity Leave for the remainder of 2017)
- Ms Sue Contarini
- Ms Kathy O’Brien
- Ms Cathy Waters
- Ms Pauline Gehrmann
Ms Tonia Gloudemans will provide you with more details regarding staff in acting leadership positions within the next few weeks.
Mrs Kim Cohen
17 February 2017
Last weekend, Head of Middle Years, Mrs Jo Matherson; Senior Resident of Boarding, Mrs Gayle Ash; Registrar, Mrs Karen Morris and I braved the 45º heat for the first leg of the Glennie regional tour. This was the first time I have travelled to these towns to meet boarding families who were unable to join us for the Welcome Drinks that occurred prior to the start of Term 1.
First stop was Millmerran where a lovely morning tea was hosted by Mrs McKinlay and her daughter, Year 12 student Meg, at their family property. A lovely garden setting greeted us for the function, and we appreciated the McKinlays’ efforts in making us feel so welcome. We thank the new parents and girls who came along to find out more about Glennie. Your time commitment on such a hot day was wonderful.
A short drive to Inglewood and a delightful lunch at Mr and Mrs Markey’s property was a wonderful way to catch up with current and prospective Glennie families in the area. It was also nice to catch up with Mrs Shona Clark-Dickson the local ICPA representative.
On the road again to Goondiwindi. Old Girl Melissa Lewis (Boughton, 1998) catered a wonderful function at The Larder for our boarding families and it was a delight for Glennie staff to speak with so many new parents and girls ready to start their boarding journey.
After a relaxing sleep in air-conditioned comfort at Ascot Lodge Motor Inn, we took to the road for Meandarra. Mrs Coggan and 2015 School Captain, Emily-Louise, were gracious hosts and introduced us to their friends and families in the region who are current boarding families or families exploring their boarding options.
On the way home, our Dalby families welcomed us with open arms. It was delightful to see a few new faces in the region, and we look forward to showing them around the School when they next visit Toowoomba.
The hospitality extended by boarding families was outstanding and paves the way for more exciting tours. I would like to thank Mrs Matherson, Mrs Ash and Mrs Morris for their company and time away from families to accompany me on the tour. I am looking forward to meeting more families when we hit the road again on the 25 February to visit families in the areas of Taroom, Roma and Chinchilla.
Wishing you all a blessed and relaxing weekend and fulfilling week ahead.
Mrs Kim Cohen
10 February 2017
As we come to the close of Week 3, the school has settled into its natural rhythm and the place hums with energy. Students and staff alike are fully engaged in the academic, cultural, sporting and spiritual life of the school. I have loved walking around the grounds and watching the girls immersed in their various activities from dance to lacrosse, Musical rehearsals to netball trials.
On the weekend my husband, daughter, dogs and I popped in at the oval prior to the start of the outdoor movie - what a lovely sense of community we experienced there. Further into our walk, we met up with a gaggle of young boarders who were as excited to see the dogs as the dogs were to see them! The next day they arrived at my house en masse to take Buttons and Stannis on an outing - there were big smiles all round.
I am taking time to have meetings with all members of staff during the first term, and every one of them that I have met so far (about 60) have commented on the community that is Glennie. I witness this ‘Glennie Hug’ every day in every aspect of school life. How lucky are we all to be a part of it?
Please remember that The Glennie Fair, this year doubling as an Open Day, is on the 12 March. This is yet another opportunity to enjoy and by a vital part of this special place. I look forward to chatting to many of you at this event.
All the best for a fulfilling and blessed weekend and week ahead.
Mrs Kim Cohen