From Acting Deputy Principal – Teaching & Learning, Ms Gabrielle Smith
In this edition of Nurrunga, I’m proud to share our Teaching & Learning highlights with you. As you’ll see, the campus remains a hive of activity. Our teachers continue to create unique academic experiences for our students – even though we’re unable to participate in the full range of extra-curricular activities at this time.
To me, this snapshot serves as a clear reminder of the benefits of face-to-face instruction. While we’ve been grateful for off-campus learning during COVID-19, we know that being on campus gives our students increased opportunities for academic and social development in a safe and stable environment that empowers them to engage, interact and support each other.
From building model medieval castles and analysing ethics through Batman, to participating in the Blackdog Institute’s Future-Proofing Study and preparing for our Year 12 Music showcase, it’s safe to say that there’s never a dull moment at Waverley. I hope you enjoy reading these updates from our vibrant community as much as I have.
PDHPE – From Belinda Buchan, PDHPE Teacher and Academic Enrichment Coordinator
Years 8 and 9 have been participating in the Blackdog Institute’s Future-Proofing Study for 2019-2025. The research started again on Tuesday 4 August, with over 150 of our students completing online surveys about their mental health and wellbeing at school.
The Black Dog Institute is a medical research institute dedicated to improving mental wellbeing across the lifespan. Black Dog’s research has a strong focus on youth and early intervention; 50% of all mental health problems emerge in adolescence, but teenagers are unlikely to get help until these problems impact their attendance, academic result and relationships.
Students in the study will complete two surveys in Year 8 and then one each year until Year 12. They will also use apps to teach them skills for managing their wellbeing and the early signs of changing mental health. Many teens avoid getting help because of cost, stigma and trouble finding the right services. By using app-based healthcare tools, the Black Dog Institute wants to put evidence-based mental health programs into the hands of all young people, whenever they need them and wherever they are.
Thank you to the parents and students who supported this important study about mental health prevention.
History – From English & History Teacher, Ms Zoe Fitzgerald
Year 8 History classes have been learning about Medieval Europe. In Term 3, I asked them to build a model castle using resources I provided. As you can see, their efforts were genuinely creative and innovative. Well done, boys!
Music – From Music Liturgy Coordinator/Teacher, Ms Anne Fahy
The Waverley Music department is still very active and productive during this turbulent time. Private lessons are generally back to normal and there has been an increase in the number of students learning an instrument. While our choir rehearsals have unfortunately been cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions, our bands are rehearsing while socially distancing.
Our Year 12s are currently preparing for their trial performances, which will take place in Week 4 and we streamed a showcase on Monday 10 August, prior to the trials. The HSC performances will take place at the end of Term 3. We wish the boys every success for their performance and compositions.
Applied Philosophy – From English and Applied Philosophy Teacher, Mr Bill Howard
Last term, Year 9 Applied Philosophy students explored Ethics and Future Problem Solving. Traditionally, this would involve a deep study of Ancient Greek philosophers, looking at ethical constructs and considering their application in relation to the history of philosophy.
But these things don’t fit with today’s world or how our students want to consume ideas and learning concepts. The reality is that they love new technologies, heroes, celebrities, sports and current affairs, so we found more relevant texts that the students wanted to work with in small groups, including Batman! This proved to be very popular and successful. Here’s a glimpse of the activities – and you can see what our students came up with in the image gallery at the top of the article.
Virtue Ethics – Aristotle and the Golden Mean of Virtues That Make Up an Ethical Person
Analyse Batman in terms of ethics related to his relationship with the Joker and decide whether he is virtuous or not. Present your evaluation and core ideas to the class.
Utilitarian Ethics – How Do We Know What’s Right? What is Utility? Does Every Choice or Decision Have a Consequence?
Analyse Blade Runner in terms of ethics related to the replicants (A.I. beings) and decide whether the utilitarian ideal of terminating/killing them when they no longer fit their design is morally and ethically correct. Present your evaluation and core ideas to the class.