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14 October 2016
Eighty of our Senior School students recently showcased their dance talents as part of the annual Ausdance Youth ‘Dance Festival’ - a non-competitive event held at the Canberra Theatre. The theme of the festival this year was ‘Be Loud Be Heard’.

STUDENTS BRING CHARACTERS TO LIFE AT DANCEFEST

Eighty of our Senior School students recently showcased their dance talents as part of the annual Ausdance Youth ‘Dance Festival’ - a non-competitive event held at the Canberra Theatre. The theme of the festival this year was ‘Be Loud Be Heard’.

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Anne Coutts

FROM THE PRINCIPAL

The psychologist Katherine Phillips gave murder mystery problems to students who were put into groups of four and given dossiers with information about the crime. The groups task was to figure out who committed the crime. Some of the groups were four friends who knew each other well. In other groups three friends were joined by a stranger.

It was remarkable that the groups with the stranger solved the problem more effectively, in fact a lot more effectively than the groups of four friends. The groups of four friends had only a 50% success rate. When the groups of four friends were interviewed they said they had had a nice time and thought they had done a good job. When Katherine Phillips interviewed the groups with three friends and a stranger they said it had been difficult, awkward and they were full of doubt. In fact, they had achieved a 75% success rate in identifying the answer. They didn’t think they had done a good job even though they had.

In a previous school I had the privilege of meeting Brian Eno who was a parent of two of my students. Brian is a composer who has worked with musicians like David Bowie, U2, Devo and Coldplay. He has a particular way to make these great bands better – disruption. He has a deck of cards he calls Oblique Strategies. When a band is stuck creatively, Brian will reach for one of his cards. One says ‘change instrument roles’ and everyone swaps instruments so the drummer plays the piano for instance. Another says, ‘make sudden destructive, unpredictable action, incorporate’. These cards are disruptive and the musicians hate them but just because you don’t like it doesn’t mean it isn’t helping you.

Sometimes being challenged to move out of our comfort zone and shed our complacency, however difficult and awkward, gives us new creative possibilities.

Acknowledgment – Tim Harford TED talk “How messy problems can inspire creativity”.

Anne Coutts
Principal

 

Peter Milligan

FROM THE HEAD OF SENIOR SCHOOL

Welcome back to Term 4!

During the break I had the opportunity to attend the Australian Council of Educational Leaders ‘Setting the Learning Agenda – Leading with Insight and Innovation’ Conference held in Melbourne.

The conference had a number of very engaging keynote speakers. Daniel Goleman, author of international bestsellers Emotional Intelligence, Working with Emotional Intelligence and Social Intelligence, has influenced schools and educators in rethinking the influence of self-awareness, impulse control, self-motivation, empathy and social awareness around compassion, self-discipline and altruism for over twenty years. He shared more recent research on his work into how emotional intelligence is not fixed at birth and can be nurtured and strengthened – with particular emphasis into how brain architecture underlies emotions and rationality.

Sugata Mitra, Professor of Educational Technology at the School of Education, Newcastle (UK) University linked his earlier work with the ‘Hole in the Wall’ experiment that he initiated in India and then replicated in schools across many countries with his ‘Schools in the Cloud’ of present day.

Sugata Mitra had been working for a computer firm in New Delhi and as he stepped from the noise and busyness of the street into his high tech office he was always mindful of the lack of educational opportunities for the street children. After sharing his frustration with a colleague they came up with the idea that they could install a computer terminal on the street.

They used the ATM concept to build a computer into the façade of a building in a public space. With no instructions provided at all they watched as the children taught themselves to browse, download, research and learn to speak English in as quickly as nine months. The question of how did they learn was not immediately obvious however a further twenty-two terminals across India replicated the results.

When students, in a range of different schools in different countries, were given no more instructions than to determine that one answer to a focus question was required of the group and supplied, for example, with five terminals for a group of twenty students, they self-organised and consistently demonstrated that ‘children, given access to the internet and working in in groups, not only can learn anything by themselves but achieve understanding at a higher level than when working individually’. Reading comprehension, communication skills, internet research skills and self-confidence all increased. In 2013 Sugata Mitra received a one-million-dollar TED grant to explore the ‘Schools in the Cloud’ concept.

A completely different but hugely inspiring keynote was presented by Rosie Batty. Among her many positive messages was that power and control was not a sign of love but a sign of violence and that respect and reaching out for gender equity were such important messages for young women and young men today. International speakers such as Wendy Kopp, Carol Tomlinson, John Hattie, Frank Crowther, Ben Walden, Jane E West and others provided very interesting and challenging keynotes.

Best wishes.

Peter Milligan
Head of Senior School

Angela Whitaker

FROM THE HEAD OF JUNIOR SCHOOL

In her book “The Happiness Track” Dr Emma Seppala writes of the importance of creating learning environments in which children can be happy.

Her research links happiness to meaningful learning as happy children have been shown to be more creative and resilient, absent from school less often (perhaps due to healthier immune systems), and to have stronger relationships; making friends more easily. As a school leader, and interested in the well-being of the whole school community I can confidently write that happy teachers are also more creative and resilient and have stronger relationships with their colleagues and with the children in their care. So what is happiness and can we foster it?

Martin Seligman, the founder of Positive Psychology and its efforts to scientifically explore human potential, has concluded that happiness has three dimensions that can be cultivated. These dimensions are the Pleasant Life (Learning to think constructively about the past and become optimistic about the future), the Good Life (building on our strengths and cultivating virtues), and the Meaningful Life (developing meaning and purpose).

Seligman’s approach to helping individuals think constructively about the past and optimistically about the future, thereby attaining a pleasant life, is grounded in cultivating gratitude and forgiveness. He also recommends developing mindfulness and an ability to be in the moment as these behaviours assist us to manage stress and negativity. Attaining a pleasant life is therefore within the grasp of children and adults.

If we then want to progress to the “Good Life” we must, according to Seligman, cultivate our signature strengths as they are the path to developing virtues. Strengths in this context are moral traits, like patience, that can be developed through effort. In a Junior School context we approach the development of strengths and virtues through our teaching of the Learner Profile attributes and adoption of the CGGS Way. A strengths survey is available on his website: www.authentichappiness.org

Finally, having achieved the “good life” Seligman strongly encourages us to strive for a “meaningful life” as he writes, “Positive emotion alienated from the exercise of character leads to emptiness, inauthenticity, depression and, as we age, to the gnawing realisation that we are fidgeting until we die (Seligman 2002, p. 8).” He goes on to state that there are no super highways to enduring happiness. We must commit ourselves to working on the development of our character, and applying our strengths and virtues to something of enduring value.

Seligman, Martin E.P. (2002). Authentic Happiness: Using the New Positive Psychology to Realize Your Potential for Lasting Fulfillment. New York, NY: Free Press.

Angela Whitaker
Head of Junior School

Mareeta Grundy Reid

FROM THE PRESIDENT OF THE P&F - NOMINATE NOW FOR STAFF AWARDS

Do you know of Canberra Girls Grammar School’s staff member, colleague or community member who has contributed in an extraordinary way to life at our school?

If so, I invite you to nominate them for the CGGS Parents and Friends (P&F) Association Awards. Nominations are now open and will close on Thursday, 29 October 2015.

There are two Awards sponsored by the P&F. The first is for teaching excellence, in memory of the late Karen Harris, and is awarded to both a Junior School and Senior School teacher The second award is for outstanding contribution to the school community. From this year, this award will be open to staff and non-staff who have a significant and extraordinary connection to the school.

Nominations for both of these awards can be made by students, parents or staff members. All nominations require support from two nominators and nominators must not be from the same family.

Further information, including the link to the nomination form, is available here.

Nominations should be completed via the nomination form or sent to pandf@cggs.act.edu.au by Thursday, 29 October 2016.

Mareeta Grundy Reid
CGGS P&F President 2016

The Grammarians’ Association will be holding their Garden Stall at the Junior School’s ACT Election polling booth.

GRAMMARIANS’ GARDEN STALL ON ACT ELECTION DAY14 October

The Grammarians’ Association will be holding their Garden Stall at the Junior School’s ACT Election polling booth.

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Excited conversations and curious whispers were abundant at the start of term, as we welcomed the uniforms from the school archives into the Junior School library.

It has provided a wonderful conversation piece about the School’s 90th Anniversary and the rich history of our school.

A UNIFORM SUCCESS!14 October

Excited conversations and curious whispers were abundant at the start of term, as we welcomed the uniforms from the school archives into the Junior School library. It has provided a wonderful conversation piece about the School’s 90th Anniversary and the rich history of our school.

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As part of Mental Health Awareness Week ACT (9-15 October), a group of Year 11 International Baccalaureate (IB) students have organised activities and workshops to encourage important conversations about mental health as individuals, as a school and as part of the wider community.

INTRODUCING THE INDIGO INITIATIVE - PROMOTING MENTAL HEALTH14 October

As part of Mental Health Awareness Week ACT (9-15 October), a group of Year 11 International Baccalaureate (IB) students have organised activities and workshops to encourage important conversations about mental health as individuals, as a school and as part of the wider community.

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As part of the recent winter netball season we had the chance to coach Canberra Girls Grammar School’s youngest netballers – the Net Set Go Sparkles.

These Year 1 girls were all very new to netball, either in their first or second year – and it was heartening to observe their skills grew strongly each week.

SPARKLES GET NET, SET, GO!14 October

As part of the recent winter netball season we had the chance to coach Canberra Girls Grammar School’s youngest netballers – the Net Set Go Sparkles. These Year 1 girls were all very new to netball, either in their first or second year – and it was heartening to observe their skills grew strongly each week.

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During the recent holidays, the Canberra Girls Grammar School Sailing Team travelled to Algies Bay in New Zealand to compete in the 2016 Pacific Rim Interschool’s Team Sailing Championships, where we raced against schools from New Zealand and the Cook Islands.

SAILING TEAM CROSS THE TASMAN TO COMPETE IN CHAMPIONSHIPS14 October

During the recent holidays, the Canberra Girls Grammar School Sailing Team travelled to Algies Bay in New Zealand to compete in the 2016 Pacific Rim Interschool’s Team Sailing Championships, where we raced against schools from New Zealand and the Cook Islands.

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Welcome to the 2016/17 rowing season!

A special welcome aboard to all the new parents to the Canberra Girls Grammar School rowing shed. I am very much looking forward to this season - we have a very large Shed with around 120 girls across five year groups.

WELCOME ABOARD - ROWING SEASON BEGINS14 October

Welcome to the 2016/17 rowing season! A special welcome aboard to all the new parents to the Canberra Girls Grammar School rowing shed. I am very much looking forward to this season - we have a very large Shed with around 120 girls across five year groups.

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At the end of Term 3, Defence students from Years 10, 11 and  12 attended a tour of the Australian Defence Force Academy and the University of New South Wales where they participated in the Over Water Obstacle Course.

DEFENCE STUDENTS TACKLE CHALLENGE HEAD ON AT ADFA14 October

At the end of Term 3, Defence students from Years 10, 11 and 12 attended a tour of the Australian Defence Force Academy and the University of New South Wales where they participated in the Over Water Obstacle Course.

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Canberra Girls Grammar School’s very own belly dancing group performed a collection of dances at Floriade on Monday, 10 October 2016.

We were all giddy with excitement at the thought of performing in front of the general public and all the girls did brilliantly...

BELLY DANCERS BRAVE THE COLD AT FLORIADE14 October

Canberra Girls Grammar School’s very own belly dancing group performed a collection of dances at Floriade on Monday, 10 October 2016. We were all giddy with excitement at the thought of performing in front of the general public and all the girls did brilliantly...

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The entire Canberra Girls Grammar School Community is invited to join us for the first CGGS P&F Association Carnival afternoon & open air movie night – proudly sponsored by Infiniti Centre Canberra.

THE P&F ASSOCIATION’S CARNIVAL & OPEN AIR MOVIE NIGHT14 October

The entire Canberra Girls Grammar School Community is invited to join us for the first CGGS P&F Association Carnival afternoon & open air movie night – proudly sponsored by Infiniti Centre Canberra.

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Late last term a small, but talented, portion of the Canberra Girls Grammar School Snow Sports Team competed the 2016 Australian Interschool’s Snow Sports Championships in Perisher.

A lack of snow, and weather conditions ranging from pouring rain to sunshine provided interesting conditions for racing however all the girls gave it everything they had.

SNOW SPORTS TEAM COMPETES AGAINST THE ELEMENTS AND AUSTRALIAN CHAMPIONSHIPS14 October

Late last term a small, but talented, portion of the Canberra Girls Grammar School Snow Sports Team competed the 2016 Australian Interschool’s Snow Sports Championships in Perisher. A lack of snow, and weather conditions ranging from pouring rain to sunshine provided interesting conditions for racing however all the girls gave it everything they had.

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Last Sunday, two Canberra Girls Grammar School teams earned the right to compete in the ACT Premier Netball Championship Carnival organised by Tuggeranong Netball Association.

Having won their district divisional grand finals, a number of teams across the ACT battled it out to see which team was the true ACT grand finalist.

YEAR 8 NETBALLERS COMPETE IN ACT PREMIER CHAMPIONSHIP14 October

Last Sunday, two Canberra Girls Grammar School teams earned the right to compete in the ACT Premier Netball Championship Carnival organised by Tuggeranong Netball Association. Having won their district divisional grand finals, a number of teams across the ACT battled it out to see which team was the true ACT grand finalist.

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Each Wednesday afternoon I carve out an hour of the week which is just for me. Whether I need to stretch, balance, relax or simply reflect on life, going to yoga in the Science Hub Room delivers the perfect opportunity to decompress.

Nancy Williams from Bollybody Yoga runs classes at Canberra Girls Grammar School for students as a co-curricular activity – and the door is open for staff to attend as well.

YOGA FOR EVERY BODY14 October

Each Wednesday afternoon I carve out an hour of the week which is just for me. Whether I need to stretch, balance, relax or simply reflect on life, going to yoga in the Science Hub Room delivers the perfect opportunity to decompress. Nancy Williams from Bollybody Yoga runs classes at Canberra Girls Grammar School for students as a co-curricular activity – and the door is open for staff to attend as well.

Read more
Term 4 is full of special moments and celebrations which our Anglican faith leads us to celebrate to the fullest.

Starting in the Senior School next week, the first of our final Year 12 House services will take place, then our final Year 11 and 12 service and the induction of the new Service Captain and Head Chorister.

CHAPEL NEWS14 October

Term 4 is full of special moments and celebrations which our Anglican faith leads us to celebrate to the fullest. Starting in the Senior School next week, the first of our final Year 12 House services will take place, then our final Year 11 and 12 service and the induction of the new Service Captain and Head Chorister.

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Congratulations to Alex Gorddard (Year 8) and Hayley Macdonald (Year 7) on their recent performances at the National Club Basketball Championships held in Newcastle. The ACT team finished a respectable tenth out of twenty-four teams from across Australia. Well done girls.

STUDENT ACHIEVEMENTS14 October

Congratulations to Alex Gorddard (Year 8) and Hayley Macdonald (Year 7) on their recent performances at the National Club Basketball Championships held in Newcastle. The ACT team finished a respectable tenth out of twenty-four teams from across Australia. Well done girls.

Read more