Last week, I wrote on the topic of ‘Engagement’ which began to unpack what the research says about the impact of parental involvement in learning and how it applies to the families in our McCarthy community. This was also a concept I was able to discuss with the members of the McCarthy Parents Association last week.
Through the work of John Hattie in his meta analysis, we learnt that the highest effect sizes regarding parental involvement occur when parents have high expectations for the learning and achievement of their children and when they take a more active approach to learning (d = 0.58). There are however, negative effects when parents’ involvement includes a ‘surveillance approach’ or micromanagement. (Hattie, J. (2009). Visible Learning. Routledge, Taylor and Francis Group, New York.
Having high expectations of students, helps students have high expectations of themselves.
At the McCarthy Parent Association meeting, we used an example that is very relevant and current to our students and their families. The example was none other than Ed Sheeran and his recent music tour of Australia. The question posed was, ‘As parents, if we have high expectations of our children, do we allow them to take time off school to see Ed Sheeran and agree to missing the days of travel it would involve?’
As you can imagine the conversation became rigorous and there was debate as to the setting high expectations and how we could communicate and demonstrate high expectations in this very real scenario. As the conversation developed, we manipulated the variables; if the student was in Year 12 and had an Assessment Task due? If the student was in Year 12 and did not have an Assessment Task due? If the student was in Year 8? We discussed the merit of taking students to a memorable cultural experience, a once off ‘treat’, and we also had the ‘you only live once!’
The decision is certainly a parental one and there are no right or wrong answers - except in the scenario involving Year 12 Assessment. What does matter is how you can continually maintain and demonstrate the high expectations you have of your child when these circumstances arise. Communicating with your child about the impact on the learning.
If parents decide their child is permitted to go, boundaries need to be established, How will they catch up? Will they cut back on part time work for that week to allow for catching up? What measures will the student take to access the work, that does not involve making additional demands on teachers? Is this leave approved by the Principal? If parents decide their child is not permitted to go, the conversation needs to be focused around the impact on the learning and the time out of school that the experience demands, the effort versus the benefit. This challenge can also involve other scenario’s such as sporting commitments and family holidays planned outside of school holidays. This is not easy.
What doesn’t change, is the conversation about the high expectations you have of your child. Communicating the expectation of them to focus their energy on learning and prioritising learning throughout their education at McCarthy Catholic College. These are just some of the ways we can be engaged and have mutual high expectations throughout 2018 and beyond:
Expecting and supporting high attendance rates. When permitted to be away, having the conversation beforehand about how to support learning.
Reinforcing positive learning behaviours such as prioritising school, switching off the phone, limiting work hours to the recommended 8 hours per week.
Respecting the rights of all students to learn and expecting this from your child
Expecting students to strive for suitably challenging goals and celebrating the steps towards achieving those goals.
Supporting the work of the teachers and the school through respectful dialogue
Listening to your child read their drafts or assignments out loud.
Fed Cup Five – Debating Thrives
In the closest competition to date, McCarthy Catholic College clinched the Federation Cup in Debating despite valiant efforts from Farrer, Calrossy Girls and Calrossy Boys. Teamwork, discipline and intense preparation were the keys to success on the evening.
If standing before your peers and arguing coherently, concisely and convincingly is not demanding enough, throw in having only one hour to prepare and organise your case and then stand up and debate! Nevertheless, despite this added complexity, each team embraced the challenge and fought fiercely to the end.
Stage 6 students had to argue that climate change is the great moral challenge of our generation while Stage 5 grappled with the idea that a healthy environment is a first world luxury and Stage 4 explored the notion that preserving the environment is more important than jobs and growth.
The adjudication panels were made up of local solicitors from many of the firms in town as well as the doyen of local debating, Bruce Stewart.
In a competition designed to celebrate the peaceful achievement of the federation of the Australian states, students from Years 7 to 12 have met over four evenings throughout Term 1 to ascertain the champion school in debating. It was most obvious to all involved that the standard rose with each successive debate.
Many of the debaters are now in their fifth year of the competition and it is most apparent that their skill, verve and confidence is flourishing because of the opportunity to debate regularly.
Going into the evening, two of the schools were in a position to win the overall trophy – McCarthy, the champions from 2014 and 2015 and Calrossy Boys. With all three McCarthy teams making the top tier finals, they only required one win to take the overall trophy for 2018, which they managed when their Stage 5 team won.
Following the debates, a large crowd shared supper, carried out post-game analysis, heard the final results and, most importantly, reflected on the growth that was most evident among all of the teams who debated over the competition before commencing prep for 2019.
Stage Final School Winner
6 1 v 2 McCarthy, Calrossy Boys Calrossy Boys
6 3 v 4 Calrossy Girls, Farrer Calrossy Girls
5 1 v 2 McCarthy, Calrossy Boys McCarthy
5 3 v 4 Calrossy Girls, Farrer Calrossy Girls
4 1 v 2 McCarthy, Calrossy Girls Calrossy Girls
4 3 v 4 Farrrer, Calrossy Boys Calrossy Boys
Throughout the year our students produce some wonderful pieces of writing and texts that reflect their skill, originality and creativity. Attached is a recent example:
Mr Mick Larkin - English Coordinator
2018 will be a big year for VET at McCarthy Catholic College. Along with the eight Year 12 students continuing their courses, we have twenty-six Year 11 and two Year 12 students who have commenced a pathway of study through either a TAFE Vocational Education and Training (TVET) course or a School Based Apprenticeship or Traineeship (SBAT).
Students are completing Certificate II and Certificate III TVET courses in fields such as: Salon Assistant, Health Services - Nursing, Electrechnology, Community Services, Construction, Early Childhood Education and Care, Information and Digital Skills, Property Services - Real Estate, and Animal Studies. Our SBAT students are seeking skills through TAFE either attending face to face or online tutorials and working with an employer in the community in areas such as: Business Administration - Medical at Hunter New England Health, Animal Studies at Piper Street VET, Health Services - Nursing at Hunter New England Health where we have three girls completing traineeships, Plumbing at Country Combat Plumbing and Education Support at St Nicholas' Primary School.
With a TVET or SBAT course students can get a head start on a career and complete a TAFE NSW course while still at school. All TAFE courses count towards the students' HSC, with some contributing towards an Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR). These studies can be used to help students gain a place at a university and provide them with an industry qualification as well as gaining work-related skills and experience which are recognised and valued by employers, a pathway of VET while at school is worthwhile.
Mrs Julie Kellahan - VET Coordinator
Email: [email protected]
Mrs Raelene Maxworthy
Teaching and Learning Coordinator