Principal Blog Issue 17 2017

Dear Parents, Friends, Staff and Students of Caroline Chisholm College,


Has anyone ever told you that you’re not good at something? Perhaps you have been told you can’t dance, or your voice should be kept for talking, not singing? Maybe someone told you that you’re not very good at maths, but that’s OK. Sadly, I have too often heard children repeat that they’re not good at something because someone has told them so, or has not encouraged them, or pointed them to the support that would help them improve. When this happens, our brains change, and our beliefs about our ability become fixed. We become the person who can’t dance, sing or do maths.  This is known as a fixed mindset. At Caroline Chisholm College, we reject the fixed mindset, and work with the students to focus on growth and strengths. Last Friday, two of our mathematics teachers, Mrs Zammit and Mrs Harper presented their research into a growth mindset for maths at the Diocesan Maths Conference. Their presentation featured students singing a positive attitude song as the lesson begins, and students working on hard puzzles and problems, and, most importantly, not giving up. Girls in maths (and in all their subjects) are being taught that learning is challenging and that part of the challenge is being unsure, being stuck, being out of your depth, while you make your way forward with new learning. If learning was easy, not much would be happening in our brains. Getting the wobbles along the way is part of the process, and it is what our maths teachers call ‘The Zone of Confusion’. We intentionally leave students in this uncomfortable place; we don’t rescue them by giving up the answers. This is because the learning is in the struggle. Congratulations to Mrs Zammit and Mrs Harper on their research and their presentation. 


Parents of students in Year 11 will have received the end of Preliminary HSC Reports this week. I am so impressed with the achievements and growth experienced by our students in Year 11 over the three terms of their senior study so far. One of the most impressive aspects of our newest Year 12 students is that they have developed, as a group, the qualities of a learning community. The students support each other and work hard to ensure everyone in the year group is moving forward and growing in their learning. There will certainly be significant challenges ahead as they begin the HSC assessment program, but I am looking forward to seeing this group continue to grow together and achieve wonderful things. 


I want to invite you to our next Parent Forum: “Get off that phone!” on November 7 at 6:00pm in the College Library. Teenagers can find it hard to regulate their own behaviour with phones and devices. This parent forum will help parents manage the issues that arise from tech use in the home. We will share advice, experiences and (sometimes) frustrations that come with raising modern teenagers with devices.  How often do you struggle to get your teenage child's attention when she or he is using their phone or device? It doesn’t have to always be a source of conflict! Visit our Facebook page and click to let us know you’re going to the event. 

Finally, it is the beginning of November, the month during which we, as Catholic Christians, pray for the souls of the faithful departed. Grief is one of the most basic, yet profound experiences of being human, and our faith tells us that those who have died are resting with God, and have been welcomed into the fullness of God’s love in heaven. During November we pray that God will embrace those who have died and that he will comfort us. We also give thanks to God for the saints, who light the path to Christ for us to follow.


God our Father, 

Your power brings us to birth, 

Your providence guides our lives, 

and by Your command we return to dust.


Lord, those who die still live in Your presence, 

their lives change but do not end. 

I pray in hope for my family, 

relatives and friends, 

and for all the dead known to You alone. 


In company with Christ, 

Who died and now lives, 

may they rejoice in Your kingdom, 

where all our tears are wiped away. 

Unite us together again in one family, 

to sing Your praise forever and ever.




Mr Greg Elliott