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From the Director of Junior Secondary

From the Director of Junior Secondary

Author: Shelley McMahon
Author Role: Director of Junior Secondary

Junior Secondary Parent Information Evening

Thank you to all students and parents who attended the recent information evening. I presented a brief overview of both the formal and informal pastoral processes at the College in response to parent questions. The topics of homework, organisation, study tips and laptop use continue to be common questions for parents of children in these year levels, and I have included two of the study strategies that Year 7 students have been learning in their Integrated Learning Lessons below.

Parents raised some questions regarding laptop use both in the classroom and at home. Screen time can be a valuable educational tool but also a distraction if not monitored. The following suggestions may assist parents in supervising our younger students and their laptop use.

1.      Use laptops in a communal area – Even though students may inform parents that they need a quiet location to ‘study’ such as their bedrooms, it is likely that they will become distracted and may not focus on just their homework. While this could mean students are taking too long to complete their homework, it may also present a safety risk if they are engaging in inappropriate content. Having devices in a communal area gives parents and carers the ability to be part of the learning process while also allowing the devices and homework sessions to be appropriately monitored.

2.      Engage parental controls on your devices – The College has partnered with Family Zone and we recommend that this program, or a similar parental control, is installed on all devices including mobile phones so that inappropriate content can be filtered.

3.      Be positive about the value of technology in learning – While the use of technology does come with some cautions, we encourage you to discuss both the benefits and potential risks associated with its use. The Cyber Safety Lady describes technology as a ‘window to the world, educational tool and benchmark of maturity’. Her website has some great tips about having positive and open conversations with your child about the use of technology.

Study Tips

One of the primary aims in Year 7 Integrated Learning is to prepare students with the tools that they need to successfully navigate the academic environment of secondary schooling. This term, we have looked at two study tips–Brain Dump and Dual Coding.

The idea behind a Brain Dump is to force the brain to engage in the retrieval of information beyond what comes easily. When students work at retrieving information, they are more likely to store this information in their long-term memory. This would be a helpful regular activity following a History or Science lesson and could easily be completed in five minutes each evening. I have attached a template that shows what the finished process would look like.

Dual Coding is the process of working with both visual images and written text to try to create meaning in new and different ways. This process helps students to develop a deeper understanding of concepts and gives them two different ways of retrieving the materials later.

The website provides some further information about these and other study techniques that are based on recent brain research. I have included the two fact sheets about Retrieval Practice and Dual Coding from this website.

As we approach the end of Term 3, I would recommend all students maintain a routine of study and revision using these techniques or similar so that they are well prepared for their upcoming exams.