From the Principal
The Brussel Sprouts of School
I know this doesn’t actually work perfectly because whenever I ask students who dislikes brussel sprouts, some always say they like them. Nonetheless, let’s ignore that minor annoyance and use the myth to assume that everyone dislikes brussel sprouts! I talk about the ‘Brussel Sprouts of School’ – the things our students dislike about schooling – when opportunity arises with them. That is because we are interested to know what their ‘Brussel Sprouts of School’ are. Some that have arisen before include: homework, having to carry sport uniform to school to get changed, spelling exercises, the tights, the smell of the Ginko Tree fruit in spring or other matters.
Whatever it is, it is theirs. And they probably disagree with the school about why it is the way it is. Fair enough. We want them to have opinions about things that matter and we want them to practise their skills of reasoning and communication.
Chip Heath’s old idea is that, quite often, resistance can actually be a lack of clarity. When it comes to uniform, for instance, everyone has an opinion. Those opinions are often hard set, yet they suffer from not considering all the factors that contribute to the decisions being made. As such, we like to talk with our students to sharpen clarity over the ‘why’ of much of what we do. I hope that they feel like they can approach us whenever necessary, nonetheless, we do have more formalised ‘Student Voice’ sessions during which they are invited to meet with senior staff to discuss matters of import.
I was privileged to be invited to a Year Nine session last week and I know that there is a Middle School session this week. The Year Nine session did what it always tends to do. It reaffirmed the ‘goodness’ of our young people and the sincerity with which they view their school and its operation. They were keen to be heard and willing to listen. That is a fine combination and by far the most effective way of helping create positive change. The voice sessions such as these do not operate as the complaints department. Usually, such as this week’s Middle School session, they are seeking the students’ ideas on improvements to the school’s operation and physical setting. They get to have an impact in deciding, literally, what we look like going into the future.
In a community like Cathedral, we are keen that our young people have access to knowledge and opportunity to contribute to the thinking that shapes who we are; however, the reality is sometimes we just have to get on with eating our brussel sprouts!
Mr Adrian Farrer