30 November 2018
One could not possibly wish for a better farewell than the ones to which I have been treated over this last week. I have been totally humbled and overwhelmed by your good wishes and through your attendance at the functions arranged. It was wonderful to see so many families and guests at the picnic. I apologise if I didn’t get around to talk with you! I tried hard, but there were so many there.
To see Mr and Mrs Norris and Mrs Ashley-Cooper there was one of great surprise, along with current and former staff members, past students and friends of the school.
I am indebted to the Parents and Friends Association, its Exec members and the supporter groups- GOSS, PASA, GEST, GSS for your work in arranging this for me. You really are amazing and this was very much appreciated. I thank Mrs Cohen, Mrs Willmington, Mrs Wood and Mrs Suhr for coordinating this event for me. Such a surprise!
Thank you so very much for the gifts which will provide lovely reminders of my time at Glennie- so cleverly chosen for me!
The Carols Service was a wonderful event and I thank Mr Finlay, Reverend Sharon, Mrs Suhr, Ms Mills, Miss Emily, Mrs Bravery and Mrs Gordon for all of their work in preparing this, our first outside service. From you comments this week, you all enjoyed this new place for the carols and a picnic to follow.
As I mentioned in my thank yous at the picnic, Glennie has a wonderfully inclusive community and these events were again testimony to this.
Monday’s farewell from the girls was so very special. Whilst I will miss our fantastic school and everyone in it, it is the girls that I will miss the most. Their wonderful sense of fun, their genuine and honest nature makes them so endearing. I was so touched by the sincerity of their speeches and I thank those who represented their year groups.
Your jar of messages will be treasured forever, girls. One to read for each day of the year next year- Thank you!. Your gift of the rose bushes is very much appreciated and these will take pride of place in my rose garden. Thank you!
I am looking forward to stepping back a little and redirecting to new areas after 24 years, but I will maintain contact through my attendance at key school events.
Working at a school such as Glennie is a privilege and one which I have never taken for granted. Each day has been different, presenting its own joys and challenges- but that’s what has made it so enjoyable over all these years!
The Junior Years is in a great place to move forward to even greater heights and I wish Mrs Kate Harris all the very best as she leads in 2019.
My wife, Colleen, joins me in wishing every family, all the very best for Christmas and the year ahead.
Mr Steve Warren
Head of Junior Years
Click here to view photo gallery.
16 November 2018
It was so good to see many new families at our Kindergarten Playday on Saturday morning. Thank you for your attendance and we hope that you found this useful and an opportunity for your child to make some new friends.
There is quite a deal of interest in our Kindergarten at this time and we are excited to be considering the commencement of a fourth group in Miss Kathryn’s room for another end of the week program. This will provide greater flexibility for working families and the opportunity for 4-year-old children to attend for a full five days. To make this a reality, we need a few more enrolments, so please help us and spread the word through your various networks. We would love to be able to talk with them about our programs on offer.
We have also responded to parent requests for an earlier start during the week to allow parents to get to work by 8:30 am. To this end, from the beginning of next year, our programs will commence from 8:15 am Monday to Friday, but will still finish at 3:15 pm
Our After Kindergarten Care program will then take over until 6pm weeknights in the Prep. Vacation Care is also available to both Glennie and Outside Kindy aged children.
We are also investigating options with the Office of Early Childhood Education and Care to enable us access the Prep and Kindergarten grounds for both Kindy and Prep children. This would give us far more space for the children to explore and engage in with their play. This should lead to landscaping improvements across these two areas, which would make a huge difference to these outdoor spaces and provide greater learning opportunities for all of the children.
Stay tuned for further updates on these new initiatives. Please promote them with your friends!
Mr Steve Warren
Head of Junior Years
9 November 2018
Our annual outdoor education program for Middle Years students is a highlight for many students and a valuable opportunity for girls to step outside of their comfort zone, find the courage to build new skills and develop resilience. The Year 7 - 9 camps at Maroon, Burleigh Heads and Numinbah Valley will continue in 2019 in Week 9 of Term 1; however, the Toowoomba Show Holiday falls during this week. We have tried to change the dates of the camps but had little success due to their popularity. Because we have developed a specific, age-appropriate program to benefit all students, our expectation is that all students in Years 7 to 9 will attend camp in 2019. Learning in the outdoors and connecting with peers, teachers and the natural environment is such a worthwhile experience.
Mrs Jodi Blades
Dean of Students
2 November 2018
Our Personal Development Program is an integral part of the curriculum and on Monday 22 October, the Personal Development Day, provided a unique opportunity for girls in Years 7 to 11 to spend time in their year levels and engage in age-specific programs facilitated by experts in their field. The learning experiences offered by guest speakers and staff on this day empowered the girls, extended their knowledge and understanding and will have a positive impact on their wellbeing.
The program included:
- Year 7 students rotating through three sessions on nutrition, presented by nutritionist Olivia Taylor, Sexuality, Relationships, Reproductive Health and Cyber Education.
- Year 8 students participating in the ‘Leadershift’ program facilitated by Ylead. The program focussed on shifting the way students think and the way they see the world and recognising how they interact with others and how they can better serve them; it was about doing things for others, not waiting for others to do it for them.
- Year 9 students engaging with Brett Lee from iNess (Internet Education & Safety Services) as he discussed Cyber Safety; basic legality and cyberbullying, students’ rights and responsibilities, dangers associated with improper use, how to protect information and photographs and responsible use.
- Year 10 students participating in The Butterfly Effect workshops run by Enlighten Education, which recognised the diverse interests of our girls and presented them with content that was non – commercial, age-appropriate and (most importantly) empowering. The workshops encouraged the girls to seek balance in their lives and taught them skills to achieve it. They were also taught skills to help them cope with exam and assessment pressure to help enhance performance. The girls set personal boundaries and were encouraged to critically evaluate the negative stereotypes and media messages that bombard them every day and develop strategies that help them respond intelligently and objectively. They had fun creating their own journals in which they can reflect and reshape their future.
- Year 11 students continued their leadership training in the Brisbane Central Business District with Character Builders who facilitated a Race Around the World challenge.
The programs on this day were designed to reflect our core values of respect, integrity, courage and compassion by informing, inspiring and empowering our adolescent girls to be discerning consumers and critical thinkers and to develop the confidence to find their own voice and power in a complex world. The feedback from the girls who attended was overwhelmingly positive.
We aim to foster a safe and supportive learning environment where all members of the school community are accepted and valued, and to assist girls to become responsible, independent, respected and resilient members of the School and wider community. In order to help us to achieve this, we have updated our Student Smart Device Policy to align with our values and encourage responsible use.
The policy now encompasses Prep to Year 12.
- Students are no longer permitted to have smart devices (including mobile phones) with them during the school day - they must be kept in student lockers or at the Junior Years Reception at all times before and during school hours and not accessed during breaks, classes or study sessions.
- Using devices for any purpose aside from those directed during lesson time will lead to confiscation for the rest of the day. The confiscated item will be labelled and handed in at the Academic Administration Office, to be collected from me at the end of the school day. An email will be sent to parents/guardians. Repeat offences (confiscated three times) will require parents/guardians to collect the device from the School.
- Parents and girls must use the School office for communication during the day. Parents are reminded that in case of an emergency, the school reception remains a vital and appropriate point of contact.
Please familiarise yourself with the updated policy; your support is vital in the implementation as we try to ensure responsible use and positive communication by students.
Mrs Jodi Blades
Dean of Students
2 November 2018
MSY Speech Day Awards
During the year, The Glennie School has worked hard to implement the 2018 goals of the School’s 2018 – 2020 Strategic Plan. Under the pillar Enriched Learning, our energies have been directed towards developing and implementing a whole school approach to teaching and learning, with a focus on essential skills, deep learning and preparing girls for their future and the new Senior Curriculum.
In Term One, we outlined a new model of Middle and Senior Years reporting involving changes to interim, progressive and end of semester / end of course reporting that would allow us to effectively meet student, parent, school, system and government expectations in 2018 and beyond.
In Term Two, following extensive research and modelling, we announced a new model of Academic Awards in Years 7 – 12 to celebrate both academic achievement and student growth, which began at our Academic Awards Assembly at the start of Semester 2, and will continue at Speech Day in 2018 and beyond.
This week, we are delighted to be able to publish the criteria for all Speech Day prizes in the Student Handbook, A link to the relevant page is provided here. Prizes are listed alphabetically, but have been categorised according to the order of the Speech Day program:
Awards of Distinction
Ms Tonia Gloudemans
Dean of Teaching and Learning
26 October 2018
According to the Australian Government’s latest statistics, one in four students report being bullied every few weeks or more, and one in five young people indicate high levels of concern about personal safety and bullying. These statistics are frightening! I addressed the issue of bullying during our Middle Years Assembly this week, clarifying what it is, discussing the impacts and outlining our role, students and teachers, in eliminating bullying at Glennie. It is vital that we have a clear understanding of what constitutes bullying. Because it is a term used frequently, particularly around schools and in the media, it can (unfortunately) be misunderstood and therefore misused. The national definition for Australian schools is:
‘Bullying is an ongoing misuse of power in relationships through repeated verbal, physical and/or social behaviour that causes physical and/or psychological harm. It can involve individuals or a group misusing their power over one or more persons. Bullying can happen in person or online, and it can be obvious (overt) or hidden (covet). Bullying of any form or for any reason can have long-term effects on those involved, including bystanders.’
Thus, single incidents or fights between friends are not defined as bullying, whether they be online or in person. Of course, any inappropriate behaviour where girls are being mean or nasty is unacceptable and will not be tolerated, but this is not bullying and should not be called bullying.
Bullying behaviour is repeated; it is an ongoing misuse of power; it causes physical and/or psychological harm; it can be in person or online; it can be obvious or subtle; it can have long-term effects. Bullying is serious! In fact, earlier this month the NSW Government announced stronger cyberbullying laws where offenders can face up to five years in jail.
We have seen the devastating effects of bullying in the media. We know that it can have numerous and lasting impacts on a person’s physical and mental wellbeing. The negative social outcomes can be overwhelming, such as fear; anxiety; distress and exclusion from peer groups; poor health; a lack of engagement in school and/or life; poor academic achievement, some of which can have long-term impacts on a person’s wellbeing.
In order to eliminate bullying and create a positive school climate at Glennie, where everyone feels safe, valued and connected, I encouraged the girls to have compassion; to be respectful; to act with integrity and to have the courage to stand up and stop the bullying. We have a Student Code of Conduct, and an Anti-bullying and Harassment Policy and we follow behaviour management procedures. All of these outline expected behaviours and consequences. We take every report of bullying seriously and follow a particular process where we meet with students and support them, gather information, speak to parents, and ensure appropriate consequences. Of course, each case is different and we do not advertise the process followed by individual situations. We respect individuals and confidentiality is important, so others may not always know the outcome if not directly involved in the situation.
We can, of course, only follow up on bullying if it is reported. I am concerned that we have a culture of students who are not reporting bullying - this allows situations to simmer, and fester, and possibly, never be resolved. This will not support the positive school climate at Glennie. I urged the girls to have the courage to report and report again and again if necessary. We can only act on what we know.
In our previous assembly, I challenged the girls to focus on one of our core values; respect. To be respectful is to be accepting of others, even if they are different; to be considerate of others, to be proud and to be gracious. I hope all Glennie girls will have respect - for themselves and for each other.
Mrs Jodi Blades
Dean of Students
19 October 2018
Years 7 to 12 Assessment Information
Assessment dates for Term Four are now finalised for Years 7 to 12. To locate your daughter’s assessment information, please select the Assessment tab in the SEQTA Engage menu and select Upcoming. You can personalise your view by selecting either “cards” or “list”.
The information listed on this page is your daughter’s personalised exam and non-exam block assessment items for Term Four. If you feel an item is missing, please contact your daughter’s teacher. All assessment information has been reviewed.
Ms Tonia Gloudemans
Dean of Teaching and Learning
12 October 2018
I would not want to be an adolescent today. I’m talking about being an adolescent in this era of instant gratification, lack of privacy and pressure to conform thanks to media stereotypes and continuous social media commentary.
Gone are the days when, on returning home from school and completing homework with no social interactions to disturb the process, we would curl up with a good book, play outside for hours with the dog or cycle down the road to spend time gossiping with a friend. The freedom to relax and be one’s self is more difficult to achieve when feeling the need to continually post and check for likes on whatever social media platform is the flavour of the day. Renee Engeln in her article, Selfie Posting May Do More Harm Than Good, says ‘ A new study points specifically to selfies as a mood and confidence-lowering activity.’ (2018)
Selfies originated when a lone traveller or couple had no one on hand to take a picture of them in a preferred setting. Phones gave them the capability of taking photos of themselves (selfies) by reversing the camera. In a very short space of time this practice has developed into a more indulgent form of impression management. Impression management is when you try to influence others to see you the way you want to be seen. We all engage in it, but social media has taken it to another level. An unhealthy level.
Interviews with young women reveal that impression management is one of the major reasons they use social media. To be certain, young women are not the only group that uses social media this way, but young women do post more pictures of themselves than other demographic groups. One recent survey of women between ages 16 and 25 in the UK found that many spent several hours a week taking, editing, and posting selfies.
So, back to the research at hand. A group of 113 Canadian women between the ages of 16 and 29 participated in the study led by researchers at York University. When the women arrived, researchers gave them an iPad and took them to a private space. The participants completed several measures of mood and how they felt about themselves. Each woman was randomly assigned to one of three different conditions. In the “Untouched Selfie” condition, the researchers asked the women to take a single photo of their face and post it to either their Facebook or Instagram profile. In the “Retouched Selfie” condition, the women were allowed to take as many photos of themselves as they wanted and were shown a photo editing app they could use to alter the photo before posting it. In the control condition, women read a news article on the iPad about travel locations and didn’t take any pictures or log in to any social media accounts.
Results showed that it didn’t matter whether the women were allowed to retouch their image. Both of the selfie-posting groups showed increases in anxiety and decreases in confidence relative to the control condition. They also felt less attractive after posting a selfie. Though some variables (like depression) did not seem to be affected by posting a selfie, none of the variables measured showed any evidence of a positive psychological effect of selfie posting.
What should we make of these findings? First, it’s essential that young women (or anyone!) not be shamed for their social media behavior. It’s not fair to ask women to live in a world where their appearance is under such constant scrutiny, yet expect them not to react to these pressures. In addition, some women may find the process of posing for, editing, and posting selfies fun or empowering. But it’s worth considering the fact that many of the activities we engage in that might seem fun in the moment can also have a negative impact on our mental health and well-being. Particularly for young women who might already be vulnerable to eating concerns, anxiety, or depression, these findings suggest it might be a good idea to limit selfie posing and posting. (Engeln, 2018)
As parents we all worry about our children’s interaction in the cyber world, a world for them that is often focused on social media activity and online gaming such as Fortnite. In an effort to support parents as you look out for your children in the world of Cyber, The Anglican Schools Commission Cyber Safety and Wellbeing Advocate, Steve Window, will be conducting a cyber safety information session for parents in The Glennie Room on Wednesday October 17.
Beginning at 3.00pm, Steve will cover up-to-date cyber safety issues affecting your children. There will an opportunity for Q&A, and you can bring along your child's device for individual assistance with settings and security. This session is designed to assist parents to tackle complex issues using the AIDE Principle: Applications, Internet, Devices, Engage and Educate your child! Drop in anytime between 3:00 - 6:00 pm.
Mrs Kim Cohen
12 October 2018
The Learning Hub – Term 4
What are 10 study strategies that top students employ?
- They never “read through” their textbook or notes (and they don’t use a highlighter)
- They test themselves frequently
- They study in short bursts, not long marathons
- They reverse-engineer solved problems
- They ask questions
- They immediately study their exam mistakes
- They practice under test conditions
- They make their own study guides
- They study with others
- They take personal responsibility for learning
All of these study strategies are regularly practiced in the Learning Hub, which operates in the Middle and Senior Years Library before, during and after school.
The Learning Hub is a vibrant but focused learning space which students in Years 7 to 12 use to study, receive subject-specific assistance and further develop their learning. Students are encouraged to use the Learning Hub in a way that best suits their learning needs – either as a ‘drop in’ opportunity for help on a needs basis, to attend weekly timetabled sessions to clarify and refine their understanding of the curriculum, or to formalise homework time in a focused working space.
Opening hours for the Learning Hub as well as the timetable of sessions for Term 4 will be published to students via Tutor Groups on Monday, and via the Student Handbook. A copy of the timetable is available here.
Ms Tonia Gloudemans
Dean of Teaching and Learning
21 September 2018
Last weekend, I had the privilege of attending the Independent Primary Schools Heads of Australia’s National Conference at Somerville House in Brisbane - my last after 23 years of membership with this organisation.
This biennial event gives primary principals the opportunity to gather and not only participate with engaging speakers and sponsors, but also to network and share ideas and concerns regarding our work in schools. We share similar stories regarding events and programs on which we are working and also with issues on which we are engaging. We all leave these conferences armed with new ideas and strategies to try on our return to our schools.
The theme of this year’s conference was ‘Shining Futures: Connect, Collaborate and Create.’ This was addressed by the many speakers, but more importantly by students from IPSHA schools who spoke, sang and celebrated how this theme had been unpacked in their schools and what it meant to them. Such optimism, dreams and hope for the future were shared with delegates.
One of the key speakers was Tony Ryan. Tony has long been an author and presenter to educators, both classroom teachers and principals, on his work on creative thinking and problem solving. His address captivated the audience with his views on the future; his positivity about this was infectious, outlining a very bright future for schooling generally, he also highlighted the need to revisit our current models of program delivery and the importance of teachers remaining ‘relevant’ in the coming years. His latest book ‘The Next Generation,’ highlights some of his thoughts and ideas about the 21st century learning as it should be.
Tony outlined the need to move away from the traditional 12 years of schooling and further study model of the last century, learning subjects, which for many are a chore and irrelevant to what they see as their needs for the future into which they are growing.
He sees the need to develop a new approach with more flexible possibilities. Learning spaces designed for learning and not, as he puts it, “crowd control.” These classroom spaces might include repurposed buildings, city offices, parents workplaces, homes, parks, museums, schools, makerspaces or other locations with internet connections and teachers or mentors.
According to Tony Ryan, instruction would include a mix of one-on-one support and guidance with a teacher or online mentor. He believes there will be huge progress made in the advancements of artificial intelligence including an AI assistant for every child, (think about Talking Barbie as she is currently and imagine!), freeing teachers up for higher thinking tasks and the emotional support that is critical to our roles. Tony suggests that these assistants will competently develop the student’s basic skills in a “gamified online environment,” constantly assessing the child’s learning and use the results to adjust the next study activities.
By the 2030s, he predicts a child will study in multiple virtual classrooms worldwide daily. Gifted teachers will reach kids through voice translation devices and telepresence capability, across countries and cultures.
The one-size-fits-all model of education, with which all schools have really followed for decades will make way for a ‘Learning Playlist’ for each child. These will be designed by the child, with the guidance of learning analytics software and a great teacher and would include group and individual learning experiences, both online and in the real world. These might be a combination of school projects and assessment tasks, personal outside interests and challenges that stretch the student’s abilities. Local businesses and organisations will work with educators to foster real life ‘enterprise-ready’ students who possess skills they’ll need in the workplace – adaptive agility, a solutions focus, critical thinking and empathy. Tony shared many examples of students currently running very successful businesses that they have developed.
Does he see an end to teachers in the ‘classrooms of the future’? Not at all; in fact, he sees the role strengthening for those who adapt and change to the needs of the students in their care. In this new world, he feels that teaching will attract the most inspiring, intelligent and open-minded people on the planet into the profession. At the same time, there will be explicit support to those already in teaching to become even more exceptional.
(By the way, he predicts that our current Year Three’s will never get or need a driver’s license or a car, (certainly in city areas), signing up to ‘Uber like services’ with driverless cars to meet all of their transport needs!) We can see that happening already!
Mr Steve Warren
Head of Junior Years
21 September 2018
A very exciting Readers’ Cup Final was held this week, between three teams from Year 5 and one Year 6 team. With great support and cheering from our Year 5 and 6 girls, the Literature Ladies (Year 6) narrowly beat the runners-up, the Year 5 Bookworms. Mrs Christina Lipp represented the Glennie P&F who generously sponsor our prizes.
Winning team: Pip Lilford, Isabella Poole, Elizabeth Fairbanks-Smith, Mashal Imam, Amelia Telford
Second place: Louise Anderson, Addyson Jones, Addison Silver, Bronte Byrne, Sally Baker-Jones
Third place: Summer Finn, Sophie Gordon, Iona MacRae, Lara Thompson
Click here to view the photo gallery.
21 September 2018
“If educators wish to have parents involved to a greater degree in their children’s educational experiences, and we wish for students to be more involved in setting personal learning goals and accepting greater responsibility for their academic process, it makes sense to include students at the table when parents and teachers discuss their progress.” – Donald G. Hackmann, Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at Iowa State University.
Interviews are essential for parents, students and teachers, as they offer an opportunity to exchange observations, concerns and most importantly talk about the progress of students. It is also an important time to share information and ways in which we can support each other to improve or sustain student engagement and achievement.
To facilitate the greater involvement of students in the learning and feedback process, we will be offering Three Way Interviews instead of traditional Parent-Teacher Interviews in the Middle and Senior Years from the beginning of Term 4.
Three way interviews:
- place students at the heart of assessment, feedback and reporting
- provide a student voice to discussions about performance and progress
- teach students the process of reﬂection and self-evaluation
- encourage students to accept personal responsibility for learning
- strengthen the home-school partnership and allow students to see their parents and teachers working together for them
In short, Three Way Interviews are a valuable avenue for involving parents and students in the learning process and leading students towards becoming self-directed, independent and lifelong learners.
Three Way Interviews in the Middle and Senior Years will be conducted on Monday, 8 October from 2:00pm to 6:00pm and Monday, 15 October from 3:30pm to 6:00pm. Parents are encouraged to book time slots with their daughter’s teachers. Note: if a student has the same teacher for two or more subjects, a maximum of two-time slots are able to be booked sequentially.
Our booking system, Parent Teacher Online (PTO), will be open to parents from Friday, 21 September 2018 and will close at midnight on Thursday, 4 October for the Three Way Interviews to be held on Monday, 8 October. The booking system will reopen on Tuesday, 9 October and will close at midnight on Thursday, 11 October for the Three Way Interviews to be held on Monday, 15 October.
For more information and instructions, please go to the Glennie Portal and click on the PTO icon.
14 September 2018
Raising Kind Children
In our last assembly of the term, I spoke to the girls about the international Peace One Day event held on 21 September each year. This is an event that I have only heard about recently and is about more than just avoiding war; it is about how each individual can make simple, small, practical steps towards peace.
Families play an important role in fostering kindness and respect by setting expectations for manners, sharing, and helping with chores. As children grow older, these behaviours, with practice extend beyond the home to situations when parents and caregivers aren't nearby; in the school playground, at a friend’s house, or on Instagram and Snapchat. An intentional approach by adults in the family can guide children to be empathetic and ethical in their independent lives, and if this is a widespread practice and these behaviours are expected from young people, maybe peace is not something that seems so out of reach.
Strategies for teaching children to think ethically, care about the people around them, and create positive change in the world.
To guide ethical thinking:
- Discuss the ethical dilemmas you have encountered at work, with friends, or running errands. Ask your children what they would have done in that situation.
- Talk about ethical dilemmas your children might face in the classroom, at lunch, or during recess. Brainstorm and role-play possible solutions.
- Encourage your children to see conflicts from another person’s perspective. Discuss ways they can compromise between their needs and those of others.
To foster concern for others:
- Encourage your children to really listen to siblings or peers when they are upset, especially if they don’t initially understand that person’s views.
- Ask children to consider the perspectives of people they don’t usually talk to; a new student at school, a student who is often teased, a student experiencing family trouble, or a student of a different race or religion.
- Discuss hardships you see on the news and talk about the experiences, challenges, and feelings of people who live in different places around the world.
To teach children to be change-makers:
- Inspire children to take action around issues that affect them and their peers, such as school uniform policies, transgender students’ rights, or the healthiness of school lunches.
- Distinguish the importance of “doing with” others from “doing for” others. Encourage children to respond to community problems by working with and listening to a diverse group, rather than spearheading new initiatives without any guidance. This is particularly relevant for high school students seeking community service opportunities. Parents can guide children to take a richer, more meaningful approach to volunteer work.
- Model that communal approach and the importance of service. Volunteer together at a charity event or set aside a day as a family to donate unwanted clothes and toys.
Acknowledgement: Leah Shafer in Usable Knowledge 27 February 2017
Mrs Jo Matherson
7 September 2018
This week is National Child Protection Week which runs from Father’s Day on 2 September to Saturday 8 September and is an important reminder that protecting children is everyone’s business and that we must all ‘Play our Part’. While child protection is crucial every week, this week is an opportunity for government, business, school and community to come together to promote the safety and wellbeing of all children. Research tells us that a strong community is important for children and helps them to be safe and able to flourish. We all have a role to play in protecting children from harm. The little things we do everyday help to create safer environments for children. For example, being kind to one another, respecting young people, being a positive role model around children, getting involved in the local community, always taking reports of harm and abuse seriously, avoiding blame and judgement, looking out for signs of neglect or harm and reporting any suspicions to one of our Student Protection Officers at School. Any allegation or concern must be reported to our Student Protection Officers. In the Junior Years, our Student Protection Officers are Steve Warren, Brenda Suhr, Lynne Henare and Sharon Baird who is also in our Middle and Senior Years along with Jodi Blades, Cathy Waters, Susan Rollason and Sue Reynolds. Child abuse, neglect and harm are all preventable. If we work together as a community we can create a safe environment where all our students can thrive. Most importantly, we can all listen to the needs of children and spend quality time with them.
Mrs Jodi Blades
Dean of Students
24 August 2018
It can be easy to magnify the negatives in a situation, and I have found that our girls tend to think this way when assessment blocks loom. It is natural to be anxious at these high-pressure times but allowing that anxiety to take over your thought patterns is quite destructive.
Negative thinking allows one to ruminate about worst-case outcomes, many of which are out of our control. This then takes up an increasing amount of our working memory, and we cannot process other things around us. At this stage of the term where all available working memory is important for revision, this impacts on our learning; it is the increased anxiety that prevents people from taking action in a situation where action is required.
What can we do to stop our minds racing out of control, imagining every negative outcome of a situation? There are steps can be taken to stop this cycle and minimise anxiety.
The first step in addressing unhealthy thoughts is knowing when you have them. Self-monitoring is important to increase awareness of your thoughts, and how they impact your mood and behaviours.
Next, move your thinking away from extremes, and consider other options. So it can be helpful to ask yourself some of the following questions:
- What evidence do I have for this thought?
- What evidence do I have against this thought?
- Are there times when this thought hasn't been true?
- Do I have this kind of thought when I'm feeling OK as opposed to feeling sad, angry, or anxious?
- What would I tell someone else who was having this kind of thought?
Is it possible that I'm having this thought just out of habit?
What might be an alternative, more realistic explanation?
Two quick statements might calm and help:
- It’s not happening now. It is possible that a situation could occur in the future, but it’s not happening now. This phrase may help you see that at this moment everything is OK.
- Whatever happens, I can cope. Remind yourself of your own inner resources and gather the determination to meet the challenges of life.
Considering that this week is Health and Wellbeing week, let's take action now so that we do not reflect on our lives as Mark Twain did saying, “I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened."
Acknowledgement: EAP Consultants
Mrs Jo Matherson
24 August 2018
With the end of Term 3 fast approaching, it is timely to remind you that our expectation of all students is to be present until 3.15pm on Thursday 20 September. The time after assessment is very important as it provides teachers with the opportunity to provide feedback to students on their strengths and areas for improvement. This feedback is vital in all year levels, and even more so when students are in their Senior years. New units of work will also commence during this time. We value a holistic education at Glennie and believe that community events such as Ball Games and Grandparents’ Day are vital opportunities for the girls to connect and develop a sense of belonging to our wonderful community. I look forward to cheering on the ball games teams and meeting many grandparents on the last day of term. If extenuating circumstances arise and your child does need to leave school before Thursday 20 September, please seek approval by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Researchers around the world have found that the average weight of backpacks worn by schoolchildren exceeds the weight limits that are recommended for adults! This added strain on the neck, shoulders and back leads to an alarming increase in children complaining of aches and pains in these parts of the body and possible long-term damage. Recognising this growing concern, several medical organisations have made recommendations for limiting the weight of backpacks children carry. I encourage you to have this conversation with your daughter and ensure that she is only carrying necessary books and equipment. In order to address this health and safety concern, we are promoting awareness of backpack safety by urging students to use the ergonomically designed Glennie backpacks available at GOSS.
Mrs Jodi Blades
Dean of Students
17 August 2018
As parents, we all value and support independence in our children. I know I was certainly happy when our own children gained greater independence, self-help and problem solving skills. Parenting guru, Michael Grose’s latest book entitled, ‘Spoonfed Generation: How to raise independent children’, provides some valuable thoughts, tips and ideas to assist in supporting this development and also provides some food for thought in what we should not be doing as parents, if we are to really develop this independence.
We all know that we do too much for our children every day, often because it’s seems easier and less stressful at the time to just do it ourselves, but is this really helping in the long term? Michael Grose would argue that this makes them more dependent for longer and hence our redundancy does not occur. It is well documented that this generation are the most spoonfed of all others. Think back to your own childhood. I am sure that like me, the expectation was there to do more for yourself. Perhaps because families were larger and parents just didn’t have have time to do everything for everyone.
Michael reveals that “it’s time to remove the spoon and put it back in the drawer.” He feels that parents know what to do, but perhaps they need help in understanding what not to do.
In the book, he reveals a number of poor behaviours. We have all exhibited these, I certainly have, but it’s about being aware that they are very unhelpful! To which of these can you say yes?
Doing too much: We all know that children need to learn to fend for themselves and stand on their own two feet. Independence is the aim for parents. Learn to delegate. This is the number one problem
Winning arguments: The need to win arguments and prove that we are right harms relationships and creates fertile ground for conflict. Which ones are really worth fighting for and which ones we should let go?
Expecting too little: Expectations are tricky. Too high and children can give up. Too low and children will meet them too easily. We need to make sure that expectations match their developmental level.
Speaking when angry: Choose the right time to speak to your children. It’s better to wait until you are in the correct frame of mind before responding.
Failing to give proper recognition: We often take good behaviour for granted. Catch your children doing the right thing and recognise this.
Playing favourites: Children usually know who’s the favoured or preferred child in their family. Your discipline and expectations give this away. Share the parenting so you share the favouritism.
Letting your children drop out of the family: In small families, every child has a bedroom, which means isolation is easy to achieve. Teenagers, in particular, tend to prefer their own company, rather than the company of peers and parents. Put rituals in place and make sure everyone turns up to meal-time.
Taking the easy way out: Unfortunately, as we all get busier with work and other things, we can be tempted to avoid arguments by giving in to our children. Refrain from this when you know it’s the right thing to do.
Judging yourself too harshly: Parents are generally hard markers of themselves. Children are more forgiving of their parents’ blunders than their parents are on themselves.
Solving too many problems: Parents try to solve their children’s problems, rather than leave them some to solve. Forgetting their lunch or musical instrument is their problem, not yours. Pose problems for children, rather than solving them.
Confusing helping for responsibility: We all love it when our children help at home, but this shouldn’t be confused with taking responsibility. A child who gets herself up in the morning is learning to take responsibility. If you want a child to be responsible give her real responsibility.
Not listening: We always want to talk and help them solve their problems so they go away. Listen first and then decide if you need to speak.
Refusal to express regret: Sometimes parents can work themselves into a tight corner after they’ve said something out of anger or desperation. Sometimes you need to acknowledge your mistakes and start over again.
Failing to use communication processes: Establish communication processes and communication places well in advance of when you really need them.
Neglecting your own well-being: Many families operate under a child-first mentality, which places a lot of pressure and stress on parents in our fast-paced lives. Carve out some time for your own interests and leisure pursuits.
Giving feedback at the wrong time: Timing is everything when we give children feedback. If you give negative feedback immediately after an event or action, you risk discouraging them. Use ‘just in time prompts’ to remind them how to do something. Pick your timing when you give feedback.
Clinging to the past: in some instances we unknowingly put some of our problems onto our children. The problems we may have experienced growing up won’t necessarily be shared by our children. Retune your parenting antennae to your children’s lives.
Believing everything your children say: As loving parents, we want to trust our children and believe everything they tell us. Children are faulty observers and frequently only see one side of an issue. Help children process what happens to them and see issues from every side.
How did you go? It’s tough being a parent isn’t it!
Source: ‘Spoonfed Generation: How to raise independent children’ Michael Grose
Penguin Random House Australia, 2017.
Mr Steve Warren
Head of Junior Years
3 August 2018
The Problem of Popularity
We all worry about friendships, play dates, birthday parties, who’s in and who’s out. Sometimes we worry more than our children do. We want them to be happy and enjoy having lots of friends. We are sad when they fall out with friends and anxious when they make a friend we are doubtful about. Popularity is a minefield, for parents as well as children.
While many friendships don’t last long when we are young, the effects of popularity, or lack of it, can endure a lifetime. If you’re popular, you’re given more opportunities to practise social skills or gain access to new information. The flip side is that unpopular kids don’t get the same advantages.
When it comes in the form of likability and making others feel included and welcomed, popularity leads to good outcomes. Adolescents, however, tend to admire being cool, visible, influential and dominant, and kids who trade on status may vie for it as adults and fail to develop other important skills. As a result, they may be more likely to experience depression, anxiety, relationship difficulties or addiction.
Here are some thoughts about how you can help your children develop the right kind of skills. Of course, we need to model this to them as parents and ensure that we, too are seeking the right kind of popularity.
Move the focus away from status.
Stop liking, liking, liking, and counting your likes. Ask questions that encourage children to target real, quality friends rather than fly-by-nights. Offline, don’t convey to your kids that they need to be in a particular club or clique, rather that it is the quality of their friendships that is important. When you focus on ephemeral popularity, they won’t learn how to identify healthy, reciprocal relationships.
Address their desire for popularity.
When children are unhappy with their place in the pecking order, offer extra love, acknowledge their feelings and share your values. You can’t persuade them to not care, but you can try to understand why this matters to them. Remind them what they’d lose if they sacrificed their existing friendships to pursue popularity.
It’s difficult when a child wants to be popular, and there are no easy answers. Adults can point out that the most popular kids may also be lonely and lack trusting reliable friendships. We can never know what is really happening in others’ lives.
Focus on what they can control, such as being kind.
In every community, there are things that make you popular. If it’s a wealthy community, it might have to do with your level of wealth. If it’s a religious community, it might be about your parents’ status in the religion. You can teach skills that will make a child more likeable, but helping them attain status is trickier. By encouraging them to focus on what they can control, including being kind, you’ll increase the odds that they land the right friends.
Turn outward to find new friends and activities.
There’s a primal social impulse to be part of the pack, but children thrive when they think less about themselves and more about others. If your daughter comes home and says, ‘No one likes me’ or ‘Everyone is walking to lunch without me,’ turn the tables. Encourage them to invite that new student to lunch or to tutor a younger student. When kids transcend the self, they feel empowered and confident. Engaging in something bigger than themselves also helps them stop ruminating about unreturned Snapchats or their social position.
Cultivate good matches.
The unspoken rule of adolescence is that you’re supposed to interact with the people closest to you in the social hierarchy. The culture may value physical attractiveness or athletic ability, but your child may thrive in a setting that values academic achievement or community service. Look for activities that align with your child’s interests. Your child’s teachers and counsellors can suggest good friend matches, pair them on projects and reinforce social skills.
Teach them the skills they need to be more likeable.
Help struggling kids practise basic skills such as asking questions. Help them focus on connecting instead of impressing. Encourage children to identify common ground. If you’re talking about something that only pertains to you, it’s irrelevant to the friendship. Are they wearing a shirt from a music group you like? Did they watch the same football game last night?
Some children may not know how to join a conversation. Show them how to slide into action without interrupting, and match the emotional tone of the group. When we look at videos of children who end up being the most liked, they listen to others and try to build on and shape what they’re doing instead of saying ‘No, that’s stupid, let’s do it this way’.
Learn from children who change often.
Children from some business families may move several times during their school years. Other students can learn from their openness. They may be more likely to approach a stranger in a crowded common room or to appreciate positivity over status. These children have figured out what works for them. They’re not trying to find a forever friend or a best friend. There’s a freedom to take risks on new friendships when you live in the moment. When the goal is to befriend people who are nice, the burden of popularity is lifted.
The best antidote to craving the wrong friends is finding the right ones and parents can help by offering transport or making their home welcoming.
Acknowledgement: Seven steps parents can take to ensure kids work for the right kind of popularity by Phyllis Fagell.
Mrs Jo Matherson
20 July 2018
Welcome back to school for Term 3 and a warm welcome to our new students and families. I hope that all students are well rested and ready to take on what promises to be another busy term. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Ms Kathy Lee for all of her work as acting Head of Donaldson last term. The pastoral care she provided students was much appreciated. We welcome back Mrs Susan Rollason from long service leave. Mrs Leanne Wisely has stepped in as acting Head of Hale while Ms Sue Reynolds is away on leave for the first three weeks of term. Please contact your daughter’s Head of House if you have any queries or concerns regarding her wellbeing.
While we are currently reviewing our Student Smart Device Policy, as it stands at the moment, students must have their phones switched off from 8.30am - 3.15pm, and they are not to be accessed during break times. If students are found using their phone during the day it will be confiscated. The Year 7 and 8 students were reminded of this policy along with our expectations of behaviour as outlined in the Student Code of Conduct Policy and the School Anti-bullying and Harassment Policy during the Student Activities session on Wednesday. All of these policies can be accessed in the Student Handbook.
Research supports that the presence of wellbeing in students can improve important educational, social and health outcomes. At Glennie, we are ideally placed to address the wellbeing needs of our students, and by integrating and delivering a whole school approach to wellbeing, we can equip students with strategies and skills to not only combat mental health issues but to also flourish in life.
We have recently received the results from the Centre for Positive Psychology at the University of Melbourne from the Wellbeing Profiler survey, which many students in Years 7-12 participated in last term. I look forward to sharing the results with you in the coming weeks. In order to improve our students’ wellbeing literacy, the Wednesday afternoon Student Activities sessions are an optimal time to enhance these skills so that our students can not only survive but thrive in our ever changing, complex world. Some of the topics covered this semester will include Child Protection, Cyber Safety, Leadership, Protective Behaviours and Safe Partying, Healthy Relationships, Resilience, Mindfulness and how to Manage Stress and Anxiety and Positive Sleep Habits, to name a few. Participation will occur in year levels for age-appropriate information as well as in House groups. The Student Activities sessions which run fortnightly on a Wednesday afternoon are an integral part of your daughter’s education as we strive to develop in each Glennie girl the potential to be All She Can Be.
Mrs Jodi Blades
Dean of Students
20 July 2018
The Learning Hub is a vibrant learning space that operates in the Middle & Senior Years Library before, during and after school. It is a place for students to study, receive subject specific assistance and further develop their learning.
The Learning Hub is run by teachers across a range of subject areas. It aims to provide a focused study space to aid concentration along with the opportunity to ask questions to assist with the completion of tasks and further develop understanding of concepts and theories.
Students are encouraged to use the Learning Hub as best suits their learning needs. Some senior students timetable these sessions in to their study planners while other students drop in for help on a needs basis. Other students choose to attend for a number of sessions with a particular subject specialist to clarify and refine understanding of a particular skill or part of the curriculum. Some students choose to use this time to complete their homework in the afternoon in this focused working space.
Teachers share their expertise and advice in these sessions and it has been a pleasure to see students’ confidence develop, their skills improve and the gratitude they express from this learning opportunity. Students benefit from advice about time management and study strategies; organisation; the benefits of working collaboratively and with specific goals in mind; and they feel supported and empowered to take control of their own learning experience.
Opening hours for The Learning Hub as well as the timetable of sessions for Term 3 will be published to students via Tutor Groups on Monday, and via the Student Handbook. A copy of the timetable is available here.
Ms Tonia Gloudemans
Dean of Teaching and Learning
21 June 2018
Last Saturday’s ‘Winter Wonderland’ Fundraiser in the Junior Years was an outstanding success, with over 400 attendees, both adults and children well-dressed in their winter gear.
Every year, these events are organised by the Year 6 families as opportunities to raise valuable funds towards projects that would not perhaps otherwise be funded. We have seen so many facilities and equipment items purchased and built for the Junior Years as parting gifts from that year group.
Since our Centennial year, the following items and facilities have been provided by these Year 6 co-ordinated functions:
- 2008 Gazebo near the western car park
- 2009 Gazebo near the western car park
- 2010 Tuckshop fitout
- 2011 Tuckshop fitout
- 2012 Sports shed on the back block
- 2013 Outdoor seating and large donation to the Pyjama Foundation
- 2014 Courtyard stage
- 2015 Courtyard stage
- 2016 Large pop-up tent for the Junior Years Stage area
- 2017 Funds for the front entrance area
- 2018 Funds for the front entrance area
This year’s funds (which are still to be finalised - stay tuned early next term), will go with the money raised last year to improve the front entry area of our Junior Years campus and will improve both the visual aspect of the area and also the safety for the girls.
I do thank you so very much for your support of this event and I hope that you had as much fun and enjoyed it as much as we all did putting it on for everyone. I would particularly like to mention Mrs Lynette Poole and thank her for her co-ordination of the event which has been months in the planning. Thanks also to all of her fantastic team co-ordinators, who then sought helpers from the Year 6 parent body. A huge thank you to you all.
I would also like to thank our many wonderful sponsors and donors, who made everything happen at as low a cost as possible, maximising our profits for the event. Your generosity is acknowledged.
Special thanks to the following:
- Burger Urge
- Homestyle Bakeries
- Telstra Grand Central
- Elisha Kennedy Massage
- Applebom Beauty, Hair & Wellbeing
- Liam Lourigan Plastering
- Podiatry Point
- Dancewear and Gifts by Lana
- Toowoomba Mobile Care Detailing
- Inflatable world Toowoomba
- Price Attack
- Chemist Warehouse
- Premier Conditioning
- Elite Fitness and Performance
- Ortem Coffee Shop
- Parkhouse Café
- The Glennie School Foundation
- Kelco Contracting
- GOSS (Glennie One Stop Shop)
- Clifford Gouldson Law
- Marlene Studios
- Judith Shoesmith
- Cooby Wines
Please support these businesses who have so generously given to support our Fundraiser.
With every good wish for the winter break. We will give you an update on the profits next term.
Mr Steve Warren
Head of Junior Years
15 June 2018
I will be taking Long Service Leave for the first four weeks of Term 3. In my absence, Mrs Brenda Suhr will be Acting Head of Junior Years and Mr Darryl Griffiths will take on the role of Acting Assistant Head of Junior Years. I will return to the School on Monday 13 August. During this period of time, please direct any issues to Mrs Suhr or Mr Griffiths.
Mr Steve Warren
Head of Junior Years
8 June 2018
How to help your child through exams and assessment block
This time of the term, when many assessments are due and exams have begun, is a stressful one for families. With regular weekly commitments still to manage, the added workload of study and completing assignments can have an impact on everyone.
The best way to support your daughter is to ensure life at home is as calm as possible. Make sure there are plenty of healthy snacks in the fridge and try to encourage her to eat good, nutritious food at regular intervals. It is always beneficial for family members to eat together and even if it's a busy revision day, it is important to have a change of scene and get away from the books and computer for a while. Also, encourage regular exercise. A brisk walk around the block can help clear the mind before the next revision session.
Try not to nag or make too many demands on your daughter during exam time. Relaxing the regular chores may be a short-term necessity and only insist on what is important.
It's important to get a good night's sleep before an exam, so encourage a regular bedtime, and make sure she eats a good breakfast on the morning of the exam.
The 2015 Mission Australia survey suggests that school and study are the top concerns for teenagers aged 15 to 19. In response, Reach Out Australia has provided information for parents which can be downloaded below.
If your daughter really isn't coping with their study load it may be time to seek further help. Speak to her Tutor Teacher or Head of House to discuss ways the School can assist her. She may wish to visit our School Counsellor, Kim Coleman, for some stress management strategies.
With planning, patience and a little leeway, assessment block will soon be a distant memory and school holidays will allow for a slower pace of life.
Mrs Jo Matherson
Deputy Head of School
18 May 2018
With the introduction of our conflict resolution program, ‘Bridge Builders’ in the Junior Years, I have been reading articles looking at the impacts of intervention programs on the change to mental health, well-being and anxiety in children.
In a recent article, parenting expert Michael Grose discussed the topic of exposing children to safe challenges and the impact that this has on promoting better mental health and resilience in them.
Two studies were referred to in this article one from Beyond Blue looking at children’s well-being and the other from Macquarie University- a long-term study looking at children’s mental health.
These studies found conclusively, that young people who were able to talk about their emotions and those who were exposed to failure and loss at a young age, had much better skills in dealing with challenges in their lives as they grew into adolescence. Children who were exposed to safe risks were happier and much less anxious when dealing with failure or rejection from their peers.
It is recognised that children do need to experience failure in a safe and supportive environment such as they have at Glennie, where they are taught strategies to support them on their learning journey.
Research from Macquarie University indicates that one in six children and teenagers are experiencing anxiety on a regular basis, so the more we can do to support their mental resilience, the better they will be as they get older.
Michael Grose suggests five strategies which are straightforward and easy for all children and families to adopt.
- The need for children to spend physical time with other children- not just in an online way! When children play without adult intervention, they create their own games and rules for these. Yes, from time to time there will be disagreements as to the “rules”, but in most instances, they will problem solve and work out solutions for themselves. The Victorian Education Department has encouraged “Pod Play” with younger children - a shed full of recyclables that can become whatever the children want them to be; encouraging creativity and language development, but at the same time, the valuable skills of team building, problem solving, negotiation and resolution of differing opinions and ideas. The results have been very positive with fewer issues being identified in the older year levels who also want to be involved! It is acknowledged that there are times when adults need to intervene and offer support and guidance- the key is not to solve the problems for them, but to give the guidance and intervention needed at that time.
- Being a good loser and a gracious winner- There has been a big push in recent years to make everyone a winner, particularly on the sporting field and whilst this might be ok at a very young age, once children get to the end of early childhood years, there need to be opportunities for children to realise that loss and failure happen and that this is ok and a normal part of life. This helps to not only build resilience over the disappointment, but also confidence building from the satisfaction that comes with winning - when it happens. I have often said to the older girls you go into a competition prepared to do your best and to try to win, that’s what competitions are about, but when you don’t, you lose graciously and congratulate those who did. There are many other times when events are just for fun and that’s different.
- Encourage children to talk about their feelings and emotions- Children need to be comfortable with the uncomfortable- unpleasant feelings such as disappointment, nervousness, and loss need to be experienced as they grow and learn. This can be hard for adults and especially parents, as we never want to see our children “hurting.” Sometimes, our reaction can escalate these feelings in the children, rather than diffuse them and it’s important that we listen, acknowledge that we understand and that their feelings are ok, and support without carrying their problems totally ourselves. When we enable children to verbalise their feelings to us, it helps them to process and make sense of them. Sometimes too, they need to understand that there are behaviours associated with these feelings that we won’t tolerate as adults!
- Model calm and rational thinking- we need to remember that high emotions can be contagious and we can feel the same way as the child when they are angry or upset. As adults, we need to manage our responses and emotions so that we can provide effective and empathetic responses and support.
- One of the first lessons in Bridge Builders has involved teaching children how to take a deep breath and regain control and a sense of calm. Once calm, we can then help them to logically think their way through the situation and avoid catastrophising and letting things get out of control. Adults who model calm behaviours, when faced with stress, show children how to respond in a safe and effective manner, rather than reacting at an emotional level.
- Encourage children to become independent problem solvers- If adults continually solve problems for children, they reinforce the child’s sense of dependency and they can start to feel worried about taking risks, through fear of making mistakes and may blame themselves for not being good enough.
When as adults, we are presented with a routine problem, eg they left their musical instrument at home or have forgotten lunch or sports gear, step back and get them to provide a solution. The children need to know that growing up increases their level of responsibility and that they need to develop the skills they need to manage challenging situations which will present as they get older.
We don’t, however, want to deter them from talking with us about bigger issues and problems, so there is a line to be drawn and a close understanding of when to seek help and when they should be able to manage it for themselves.
So, if we as teachers, and you as parents, work to provide them with these skills and strategies, they will soon be able to navigate all manner of challenges and issues knowing they are supported, yet not over-protected.
We have a great parenting library in the Junior Years which is available to all Glennie families. Please feel free to borrow any of these practical resources.
Source: Parenting Ideas Michael Grose.Child Development and Parenting advice 2018
Mr Steve Warren
Head of Junior Years
18 May 2018
As our girls grow through their teen years, it can be difficult to navigate how they speak to others. At times, when they try to express their views or express how they feel, they can come across as aggressive, but as they grow older and begin to see the wider perspective of the relationships they have, they learn that respect is paramount in all communication.
At a recent conference, it became apparent to me that many teenage girls are not challenging what they see around them, even if they think that it is not acceptable. They are demonstrating passive compliance - doing and accepting things with which they do not agree.
Our girls need to practise assertiveness. In many circles, they are excellent at expressing themselves, but this can become more difficult when applied to relationships because of the perceived social impact.
Assertive communication is a skill that needs to be learned. Our culture sometimes tends to reward aggression. Putdowns are framed as humour in cartoons and sitcoms, and the internet can be a platform for bullying. It’s hard to find examples of assertiveness in the public sphere. That’s why teachers and parents need to explicitly teach assertiveness, so students internalise skills and use them in everyday situations.
Kristin Stuart Valdes suggests some techniques in her article 'Modeling Assertiveness with Students' (Edutopia, 2018).
The “nice no” – When a student feels pressured to go along with other people’s ideas or invitations (“Do you want to trade lunches?”), it can be effective to say, “No, thanks” or “Thanks for asking, but not today.”
Setting a boundary and holding to it – When asked to do something outside your comfort zone (“Can I copy off your paper?”), it’s effective to say, “No, I’m not comfortable with that” and not feel compelled to give reasons.
Asking for some thinking time – When asked for something and you’re not ready to answer, an assertive response is to say, “I’m not sure how to answer that right now. Can I get back to you later today?” Ask for the amount of time you need to get more information, weigh other options, and reflect on your feelings about the situation.
Stating your needs – It may seem that others are ignoring or disrespecting your needs when the problem is that you actually haven’t articulated them clearly enough. For example, a student might say to a teacher, “Could you please repeat that? I need to hear the directions again”.
Using an “I feel” message – This may be the best way to communicate your feelings and emotional needs, so others have a chance to understand – for example, saying to a friend, “I feel sad when you cancel our plans because I love hanging out with you.”
Responding to aggression – Sometimes an assertive statement is met with an aggressive response. A good next step is to calmly remove yourself from the conversation, saying, “I think I communicated my thoughts clearly, so there’s not much more to talk about.”
Being assertive allows us to show integrity by standing up for what we believe in while being respectful in our communication with others. Girls, let's stand up for what we believe in and ensure that the world around us reflects our values.
Mrs Jo Matherson