A Growth Mindset

Over the last year the school’s Wellbeing Model has been articulated to the school community, most recently through Alex Abecina’s articles in the Chaplain's Corner. This framework aims to assist staff, students and parents to understand our approach to working with students and all in our community.

In former times discipline focused on a punitive approach. Students understood that there would be direct intervention which, typically, included a punishment for a particular action. This substantially is a deficit model where students are caught for doing something wrong and punished.

More recently we have focused on an affirmative approach. As a community we recognise that the vast majority of students want to support and encourage others. This approach assumes that students choose their behaviour and, therefore, the appropriate consequences are the outcome. This is an aspect of a positive psychology approach to student wellbeing.

Some may view positive psychology as trendy. Despite this perception, I believe positive psychology has much to complement our wellbeing framework at Burgmann. A significant aspect is recognising particular strengths of character and understanding other character traits which may be individually challenging. It is an approach where recognition of effort matters because of an understanding of subsequent consequences.

Positive psychology is not celebrating participation. Positive psychology is not attempting to make everyone ‘happy’. Positive psychology is not accepting behaviour which is inappropriate.

Positive psychology within the Burgmann context, is about developing well-rounded individuals honed through effort to give their best and working with subsequent successes and failures both academically and beyond. Positive psychology, within the Burgmann context, is about developing a resilient person with a ‘can do’ attitude, a student looking for solutions rather than contributing to problems.

At Burgmann we sum this up as wellbeing.

Over the past few years I have been fortunate to be a founding member of the National Board of the Positive Education Schools Association (PESA). A number of the founding Board member’s schools have completed significant research in this area including Geelong Grammar School and St Peter's College, Adelaide.

At Burgmann Anglican School we have begun this journey by developing our Wellbeing Model which aims to capture the heart of our approach by encouraging our students to persistently do their best. Professional relationships with colleagues, students and parents are critical.

Another important aspect of our model is the recognition that students will make mistakes. It is how one responds to their mistakes that is vital. Failure is a means of working towards success.

Last year Mrs Melanie Spencer was appointed Deputy Principal - Wellbeing. Mrs Spencer’s focus is ensuring students are nurtured with high expectations and appropriate consequences. Mrs Spencer has been appointed, in part, to ensure our Wellbeing Model is articulated appropriately throughout the entire school. As part of her responsibilities Mrs Spencer has been on the organising committee for the PESA NSW/ACT Conference at Ravenswood School in Sydney to be held in a few weeks.

Our Wellbeing Model is about celebrating deserved successes both at an individual and group level. Through this framework we are encouraging a ‘growth mindset’ where students are encouraged to build on successes and failures. We want our students to embrace the phrase ‘not yet’!

I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work.

Our greatest weakness lies in giving up.

The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.

Thomas Edison

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Diocese Commencement Service

Last Sunday, the Anglican Schools’ Commencement Service, hosted by the Anglican Schools’ Commission of the Diocese of Canberra & Goulburn, was held at St Paul's Anglican Church in Manuka. All Anglican Schools in the diocese participated. Our school leaders, Executive staff and the Chair of our Board, Mrs Natalie Vandepeer-Bradley, joined with representatives from the other schools to listen as Bishop Stuart Robinson spoke about Jesus' teachings on loving and forgiving our enemies. It was a special occasion for students and staff to meet informally.

I thank all students, staff and our Chair for supporting this special occasion. I also thank our Board Member Ms Heather Walsh for her work in organising and managing eight schools across our diocese in her role as the Director of Schools and Business Development within Anglican Diocesan Services.

Canberra and Goulburn Diocese Anglican Schools:

  • Burgmann Anglican School
  • Canberra Grammar School
  • Canberra Girls Grammar School
  • Radford College
  • St Peter's Anglican College- Broulee
  • Sapphire Coast Anglican College- Bega
  • The Riverina Anglican College
  • The Anglican School Googong

Gungahlin Anglican Church Family Service

2017 marks the 200th anniversary of the Bible Society in Australia.

Gungahlin Anglican Church warmly invites the community to special family services next Sunday 5 March as they look at The Book That Changed Lives. Full details for these special services are available in the Feature Article.

Steven Bowers