Preparing for Term 2

Dear Families of CBC Fremantle, 20240305-1h1a3564.jpg

Welcome back to Term 2. I hope this communication finds you well and that Easter and the break was an excellent opportunity for you to spend some quality time together as a family.

Term 2 is an important term, as is every term, but Term 2 provides the opportunity for students to put in place any feedback they may have received from their Term 1 report and to further develop the attributes of the CBC Learner. Continual growth is an important lifetime skill that will place your son in good stead in all facets of his life, professional and personal.

I am aware that parents have great aspiration for their sons. Generally, these are realistic, but sometimes they are not. Over my career, I have witnessed many times that the expectations some parents have of their child can put undue pressure on their son or daughter and this can have long-term detrimental effects. Where to draw the line between expectation and realistic ability is not an exact science, and I failed the test as a parent. My efforts in this area as a grandparent are guided by those mistakes.

CBC Fremantle has as one of its attributes that the CBC Fremantle Gentleman does his best and values it. Doing your best is an absolute and none of us can do better than our best. Where that bar is set should be based on several factors including, but not limited to, ability, work ethic, organisational skills, confidence, and the safety of the learning environment. Doing your best is often reflected in the affective attributes on your son's report, and not always by the grade or mark. As I stated at the Awards' Evening a few years ago, this aspiration is not code for minimalism. CBC Fremantle does not accept academic indolence, and boys are often challenged when the teacher feels a best effort is not given. This accountability is important in building resilience and in preparing boys setting and taking on challenges that are beyond one's best. The overload principle is used by all professional and high-level athletes and is defined as the systematic increase in training frequency, intensity, time, and type in various combinations over time. In short, it requires you to regularly escalate the challenge to your muscles to effect improvement.  A similar approach will greatly assist with your son's academic growth. The success of this process is ensured when the challenge is neither set too far beyond the student's ability, which can crush him, nor too close which can cause boredom.

My advice to all prospective CBC parents is when you receive your son's report, the attributes should be given as much importance, if not more, as other parts of the report. I offer the same advice to you. Parents have the right to respectfully ask why a particular attribute rating was made. Once this is established, teachers should be able to give at least one explicit behaviour the student can make to improve the rating. Working on an explicit behaviour can lead to success being achieved in a much shorter time frame than focussing on an academic skill, which may take some time. Success will build confidence and build further success. If this is done effectively and with vigour after each feedback period, the attributes have a much greater chance of moving into the consistently column. Once this is achieved, your son is doing his best and once he's doing his best, the grades achieved are more likely to be commensurate with his ability.

In planning for improvement this Term, I respectfully request you to ask your son to do three things. Firstly, come prepared for each class. Laptops charged, correct texts, materials and uniform. Secondly, engage in the class. Try and focus, ask questions when needed and avoid distracting others. Thirdly, access the many and varied support such as Homework Club, Maths Help, Science Help etc. to name but a few. And finally, go over the day's lessons to consolidate. The great myth that is often perpetuated by boys is 'I've got no homework'. Although a boy may not have set homework, revising the day's learning is essential in being able to do your best; consolidating knowledge and identifying concepts still not quite understood.

I look forward to seeing all our students continue to grow in all areas and have been uplifted by the number of reports I signed that indicated how well they are going.  Feedback is a gift, so where it is positive, bask in its glow, and when it is challenging, take on the advice confident in the knowledge it is given for the very best intentions….to help make you the best you can be.

I wish you and your sons all the very best for this term.

Mr Domenic Burio