Every parent I know would like their child to be an avid reader. Who doesn’t want their child to have better vocabulary, comprehension, writing, general knowledge, conceptual ability and even, in the case of reading fiction, greater empathy and better interpersonal skills? But making that aspiration a reality is hard, and getting harder.

Spotlight On: Wiser Together

5 March 2021

I have been a teacher for almost two decades yet I am still stumped when it comes to my own children – aged 6 and 8. Over cereal this morning I was asked: to list the most venomous spiders in the world by region; how to find ‘C’ on a piano keyboard; who is the best Australian author; and whether you tie soccer boot laces differently to school shoe laces.

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Spotlight On: Good Conversations

26 February 2021

I also asked the girls who approached me this week whether they had had any explicit discussion of consent at home, and hardly any of them had. This is anecdotal, of course, but I’m sure it’s not because their parents don’t think it’s important. Trust me, though: your girls want to talk about this. Even though it’s ‘cringey’ for everybody involved, they really want to talk about this.

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Spotlight On: Good Habits

19 February 2021

A few years ago I was astonished when a girl in Year 11 (not Queenwood) showed me her mobile phone use statistics. Her Screentime data for the past week showed she had spent 55 hours on her phone, of which 35 hours were on Snapchat. So on top of her school day and study schedule, she was clocking 8 hours a day, 7 days per week, on her phone. And her Snapchat commitment alone was the equivalent of a full-time job.

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Spotlight On: Communication

12 February 2021

There are moments when you realise how old you are. One of mine was when – years ago – I listened to a group of Year 10 students laughing riotously at their parents’ texting habits.

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Spotlight On: Reading

5 February 2021

Right now, your eyes are tracking across this page from left to right and you are reading without much thought about the processes that are going on in your brain.  Reading for you is easy. In fact, one could say that it is automatic – or, at least, it feels automatic.

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Spotlight On: Harnessing Uncertainty

20 November 2020

We are living in unbelievably uncertain times. We are watching the confusing aftermath of a momentous election while the virus is still spreading like wildfire across the world. Our vision of the next few years is hazy and blurry. So, what does this uncertainty mean for us, as girls and as students striving for our goals? Has our fortune and privilege equipped us with the skills necessary to face fear and uncertainty? We often hear ‘we learn from mistakes, not from successes’ and ‘the way we handle mistakes determines who we are.’ But does success only come from a place of failure? Of working and reworking issues until they are resolved? Or can success come from a place of fear or uncertainty?

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Spotlight On: Social Media

13 November 2020

In Netflix documentary, The Social Dilemma, Silicon Valley experts reveal the sophisticated psychological techniques coded into social media platforms, which aim to hook users, retain their attention and manipulate their behaviour.

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Spotlight On: Hope

6 November 2020

Hope is a powerful thing and many would agree that it is an essential element in a good life. It should not just be a feeling that spontaneously overcomes us but something we intentionally practise. That can be hard to do, especially this year, but this is exactly why I feel so privileged to be a teacher.

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Spotlight On: Kindness

30 October 2020

The messages I shared with staff were from parents who described girls who are happy, flourishing, growing in independence and confidence. There are so many of these girls… and it would be easy for me to stop writing here. But we need to be honest: at any given time there will also be a number of girls who are not feeling this way. They feel a bit lost, unconnected, uneasy with their peers. They worry that everyone else seems happy, while they don’t fit in.

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Spotlight On: Why Debating Matters

23 October 2020

In early October, the second debate in the US Presidential election campaign was cancelled – at least in person – and when a virtual format was proposed as an alternative, it was dismissed by the President: ‘That is not what a debate is all about…It’s ridiculous.’

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