Grammar Gazette- Issue 2, 2008

grammar gazette spring 2008

inside Uncovering the Masterpiece Within

Australia’s TopTeachers

Provocations for Professional Learning

Winning Space

From the principal


From the Principal


Valuing Academic Endeavour Schools in the twenty-first century often describe themselves in language that promotes and emphasises their claim of providing a supportive, caring atmosphere for their students. Warm places that cater for the individual learner, uphold core values, develop each student’s potential, create an environment

From the School Leaders






Student Care








that is personally and recreationally challenging, and so the inventory goes on. Of course, these undertakings are important for the constructive growth and development of young people and undoubtedly reassure parents that their children will be treated respectfully and carefully. However, it seems that priority profiling of a school’s commitment to serious academic endeavour is not articulated as often as perhaps it was in the past. Certainly in universities, academic rigour and research are central to their mission and promoted unashamedly and widely.Why not for schools? Perhaps because there is a view that academic excellence equates to exceptional intellectual achievement and success—a phenomenon reserved only for the select or gifted students. In fact, a school should be about delivering an excellent formal academic education with specialised courses of instruction, including necessary content, the incremental development of problem solving capacities and the encouragement of original thinking. A rigorous academic programme delivered by highly motivated, dedicated and qualified teachers is ultimately the medium that will achieve the optimal outcomes for students, in conjunction with the reasonable expectation that they will work diligently, to the best of their ability and assume age-appropriate responsibility for their own learning. Latest research is informing us about the most advantageous conditions for young women to achieve effective learning. Brisbane Girls Grammar School is intent on providing both theoretical and practical professional development for teachers to support their classroom practice and thereby create challenging and engaging learning environments for their students with academic endeavour at the core.The School has over a century of proven commitment to exceptional standards of academic, cultural and personal education; all of which can be achieved even more effectively in an environment framed in individual care and support—something Girls Grammar also holds dear. In this issue of the Gazette our feature articles focus on aspects of teaching as a practice and a profession. In particular, selected staff discuss some of our recent initiatives related to innovative classroom models, effective mentoring for new teachers, leadership in the education sector and our active learning community. Ms Amanda Bell

Senior Drama Production


Grammar Girls






Reunions and Events






Thank you for the wonderful evening (Parent Information Evening). It was both informative and amusing. I appreciate all the time and effort that must have gone into putting it together. We know our daughter is in very good hands and evenings like this reinforce this for us. Mrs S Singh Year 11 parent Last year, before our daughter was even at Brisbane Girls Grammar School, we attended the Mother and Daughter Dinner and it was fantastic. Excellent idea to include girls who are about to attend the School—our daughter is really looking forward to the event again this year. Ms M Graham Year 8 parent Congratulations on the 15th (consecutive) win at the QGSSSA Cross Country competition. I was the cross country captain in 1994, the first year of the now famous winning streak for the School. It is lovely to see the same dedication 15 years later! Mrs E Turner (Byth) 1994 Thank you for hosting the ‘Class of ‘88’ on Saturday 19 July for the 20 Year Reunion—it was so interesting to see the School again after all these years. Mrs F Schrier (Thompson) 1988

Thank you for arranging the Alumni and Art event at the National Gallery of Victoria; I so enjoyed the exhibition. I look forward to the 2009 Alumni event. One day my husband and I will come to Brisbane and I would love to visit my old school. Mrs B Joyce (Black) 1948 I am writing to compliment Brisbane Girls Grammar on the conduct of one of its students at Open Day. I arrived with my two children, the eldest of which is currently in Grade 5, and we were warmly greeted by a Year 12 student, who after hearing that we were first-time visitors, offered to show us around and visit places that we might be interested in such as Year 8 classrooms, sports facilities and the music areas. Our guide stayed with us for about thirty minutes, by which time we were happy to walk around by ourselves. She gave an outstanding impression of her School. Mrs M Simpson visitor The atmosphere at Open Day was unbelievable and the family I guided around the School was really amazed by their experience—the atmosphere, the facilities, and the academic and co-curricular aspects that the School has to offer all on show. ManLok Kwan Year 12 student

An Extraordinary Musical Event Each year, the Gala Musical grows in size and reputation and the 2008 programme will be no exception. Over 300 young musicians will perform in All You Need Is Love, exploring a wide range of musical genres Gala is a highlight of the school year and an event not to be missed. Where: Brisbane City Hall When: Saturday 25 October at 7 . 00pm. Tickets: $20 adult, $10 concession, $50 family.

Copyright Newspix 2008

A rigorous academic programme delivered by highly motivated, dedicated and qualified teachers is ultimately the medium that will achieve the optimal outcomes for students.

Cover Image: Senior Drama Production The Crucible (page 14)

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grammar gazette spring 2008



Teaching: an expedition of self-discovery

Marking Progress

Semester 2 is proving to be an incredibly rewarding and eventful time. As Head Girls, one of the most challenging aspects has been keeping Year 12s motivated and in high spirits.The QCSTest and assessments occupied our minds inTerm III, and for some, sleep was in short supply and the end seemed just a little too far away. However, it has not only been academic pursuits that have kept Grammar girls busy this semester. Open Day was an outstanding success, made possible by the girls and their efforts. Thank you to everyone who contributed to making the evening an extraordinary experience for the Grammar community. Our 2008 motto—Make your Mark—was inspired by the Olympic spirit and the athletes who give their all to achieve their best. As a celebration of the Beijing Olympics the Student Council created Grammar Olympics. Over three rounds girls went head to head in handball, apple-bobbing and trivia question competitions. It was very entertaining and provided a well-deserved break from our studies. Another hugely successful athletics day was held in August. Teachers and students, dressed in House colours, sprinted, threw and jumped to their hearts’ content.The stands were filled with hundreds of Grammar girls cheering on their House competitors—it really epitomised the Grammar spirit. To support and celebrate our rowing girls before the 2008 Head of the River, the Student Council held a Blue Day with a sausage sizzle and rousing war cry—it was an inspiring sight

In Agatha Christie’s classic detective story Cat Among the Pigeons the retiring headmistress asks an aspiring teacher what it is she enjoys about teaching and the young woman replies: ‘It’s the most fascinating thing in the world…it’s like fishing…You don’t know what catch you’re going to get…It’s the quality of the response. It’s so exciting when it comes’. This excitement, expectation and satisfaction of person to person interaction, of lighting the fire, of liberating the hidden potential, of crafting something fine, has always been the mark of the true teacher. Next to parents, teachers are the most important formative influence on the developing child and therefore, when it comes to teaching, only the best will do. Of all the professions, teaching is arguably the most diverse, frustrating, challenging and rewarding. Good teachers, like effective parents, are perforce among the most multi-skilled members of the community because both their raw material and their product is the incalculably complex, multi-dimensional human being. Teaching is about human formation and transformation and it is, at the same time, both highly personal and grounded in

community—both an intellectual and a spiritual project. Teachers don’t just teach subjects, they teach children. We live in a time when Alvin Toffler’s future shock predictions of the 1970s are no longer science fiction, and the school—perhaps more than any other institution—is being tossed about on the tsunami of ever accelerating, technology driven economic, social and political change. Increasingly the teaching profession is under pressure, not only to reinvent itself but also to provide solutions in a dysfunctional world where even the experts can not agree on the optimum use of technology, nor the nature and extent of its impact on the neurological and psychological development of the child. Despite such pressures, change and reform in educational institutions and teaching learning strategies needs to be balanced, considered and coherent if it is to result in genuine and sustained higher levels of student achievement.This means a new envisaging of teaching and learning as an ongoing and expanding praxis in which theory is not only applied but developed. Through shared reflection on practice the school becomes a powerful, collaborative

learning community where the professional life of its members is mobilised and enhanced by continuously deepening and broadening its multi-faceted knowledge base. And it is this challenge that the aims and ongoing programmes of the Brisbane Girls Grammar School Centre for Professional Practice are designed specifically to meet. As a result, its achievements and spin-off influences are succeeding far beyond what was originally envisioned or hoped—this unique initiative has created a powerful and pervasive momentum, both within the School and beyond. A subtle but unmistakable ethos of excitement, expectation, and sense of purpose is being engendered across faculties; a new and rising sense of personal growth, collective flourishing and collaborative ownership is emerging as members of staff are challenged to push the boundaries, move outside their comfort zones and discover a surprising array of hidden and unsuspected potentials, depths and abilities in themselves and in each other.

to see Grammar girls supporting each other with such verve and commitment. Following the success of last semester’s Grammar Goes Green initiative girls volunteered to plant trees for the Save Our Waterways Now (SOWN) campaign. It has been fantastic to see that the goals we set at the beginning of the year— commitment to environment, maximum involvement and community service—have been evident in every initiative undertaken by Grammar girls this year. Finally, as we approach the end of 2008, we hope when reflecting upon the year all girls feel they have indeed achieved their best. Cassandra Jeavons and Avi Kaye Head Girls

Women Leading Philanthropy —The Power of Giving

In April, the Brisbane Girls Grammar School community was represented by staff and students at the Mater Foundation Lunch to celebrate the opening of the new Mothers’ Hospital.This event was organised by ORATA, a group created to develop ‘inspired and profitable connections’ between Queensland professionals from a range of industries through both public and private events.This event was a special one for women; many of the women present had either been born or given birth at the Mater Mothers’ Hospital. The guest speaker, Wendy McCarthy, was especially inspirational to her audience—including our own Head Girls and Service Captains. Ms McCarthy, nominated in 2005 by The Sydney Morning Herald as one of Australia’s Top Public Intellectuals,

spoke about women, money, giving, and the power to effect change. A secondary school teacher at the beginning of her career, Ms McCarthy remains passionate about the power of education to make a difference. She outlined a landscape where the philanthropic frontiers for women are expanding rapidly. Women are committed to creating, and maintaining, better conditions for people. What is needed now is the confidence to continue to expand our spheres of influence and to become secure not only in effecting change in our micro worlds of family and immediate community, but in assuming responsibility in the wider domains of budget and audit committee boards.

Mr Alan Dale Dean of School

References: Christie, A. (1959). Cat Among the Pigeons. UK: Collins Crime Club.

The Centre for Professional Practice

From its inception in 2005, the Centre for Professional Practice has been closely aligned with the School’s Aspiration: ‘To be respected internationally as a leader in the education of young women and professional teaching practice’. This has placed Brisbane Girls Grammar School at the vanguard in providing quality teacher professional development on campus with a series of interlocking and developing programmes well ahead of recent government calls for professional standards and systemic improvements in teacher performance. The Centre’s unique model links pre-service, beginning and experienced teachers in a seamless professional and collaborative learning environment that has assumed a key role within the School community. At its heart is the belief in the centrality of quality teaching to excellence in educational outcomes for our students.

Mrs McConaghy and Ms WMcCarthy.

Ms McCarthy’s key words in promoting philanthropy as the ‘new black’ and urging the practice of giving are ones very familiar to women: connection and care. Mrs Marise McConaghy Deputy Principal

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grammar gazette spring 2008




Australian Government National Awards for Quality Schooling AUSTRALIA’S TOP TEACHERS

Our teachers are constantly seeking ways to enhance the quality of student learning in their classes, and are keen to engage in professional development opportunities to extend their personal understandings whenever possible.

Ms Amanda Bell received one of seven Highly Commended National Achievement awards for Excellence by a Principal. The award recognises outstanding school leadership by principals who make a difference to young people, their opportunities in life and their achievements. Under her guidance the School has developed innovative science and creative arts programmes, new information technology subjects, overseas activities for students and staff and considerable professional development and leadership opportunities.These have had a significant impact on students’ social and academic achievements. Ms Bell’s influential leadership has helped broaden the opportunities available to students at Girls Grammar and brought international recognition to the School.

The Provocations series of presentations stimulate new ways of thinking about a raft of educational issues and are offered once a term after school. Already they have helped enrich cross–faculty collegiality within the School and our relationships with our partner tertiary institutions. Last year’s Provocations talks were tailored by our Griffith University partners in response to staff requests for the latest information about innovations in new technologies and their perceived impact on education. After these excellent presentations, staff were primed for further personal investigations and experimentation. This year, our Provocations talks have drawn on wider community contacts and institutions. Dr Jane Keogh and Dr Shelley Dole from the University of Queensland focused on practicum Current research shows the in-school, or practicum, experience to be of critical importance in the induction of young teachers to the profession. The Centre for Professional Practice promotes mentoring as a valued professional activity for School staff with the ultimate goal of supporting the growth of future teachers. The sharing of professional stories is an important part of professional growth and is one aspect that has been incorporated into the practicum experience via weekly support seminars by Grammar staff. Recently, as part of the regular Pathways series of professional discussions, four pre-service teachers shared their stories with School staff in a presentation on their reflections and thoughts on their practicum experience. The presentation was a means of showing their

discussions between tutor and pre-service teachers as a process for negotiating more productive mentoring relationships. Interested staff were invited to participate in a pilot research project to extend these ideas further, and a key outcome of this Provocation was the formation of a Mentoring Special Interest Group. Last term’s Provocation, Values Education, drew a large audience. Dr Bill Sultmann, Director of Catholic Education (Cairns) and the 2006 Visiting Scholar for the Australian College of Educators, spoke of the need for ‘depthing awareness’, or the heightening of one’s ability to look within, rather than merely looking ahead or at others, hence avoiding self-reflection. In this way, he argued, greater consciousness of one’s decisions, motivations and actions would be possible, as would greater opportunity for valuable learning from self-critique of life’s experiences. appreciation to staff for the unparalleled support they had received during their time at the School. Ms Shonel Messer felt she had been very fortunate to have had the opportunity to complete her practicum at Girls Grammar under the guidance of two excellent and experienced teachers, Mrs Woodford and Mrs Byrne. Ms Leila Herne remarked that the Centre for Professional Practice fosters an environment of support, professional development, challenge and teamwork. The student-teachers were encouraged to involve themselves in all aspects of school life, and to experience not just the classroom but co-curricular activities, such as visits to Marrapatta. Mr David Crewe was most impressed by the opportunity the School provided to go

Dr Kimber (second left) with pre-service teachers Ms L Herne, Ms N Littler, Mr D Crewe and Ms S Messer

With such an array of stimulating ideas, our guest experts have provided staff with opportunities and challenges on both professional and personal levels. They have added a richness to our professional learning community and their visits are widely anticipated. To see these cross-faculty collegial discussions in progress is to appreciate the vitality and commitment of our learning community at Brisbane Girls Grammar School. DR KAY KIMBER Director, Centre for Professional Practice beyond the rhetoric of university lectures and actually use technologies only spoken about in their tertiary studies. His experiences at Girls Grammar helped shaped his thoughts on teaching, encouraging him to strive to meet the professionalism and ability of the teachers working here. Ms Natasha Littler reflected that her time and experiences as a pre-service teacher at the School confirmed her love of teaching. She commented that the opportunities, resources and programmes offered to pre-service teachers here exceeded all expectations. She expressed her thanks to the Centre for Professional Practice and the whole Grammar community for such an inspiring and worthwhile practicum experience.

Minister for Education, the Hon Julia Gillard MP presented Ms Bell with her award

Officially Opened by Queensland Chief Scientist Professor Peter Andrews, AO CENTRE FOR SCIENCE RESEARCH

our future, as well as the importance of collaborative scientific research globally. Professor Andrews went on to announce an exciting collaboration between Brisbane Girls Grammar School and the Seattle Biomedical Research Institute (SBRI), with a School trip planned to visit the SBRI for April 2009. The trip is a joint initiative with Brisbane Grammar School.

Girls Grammar has a long and proven history of enthusing girls about science, with over 87 per cent of senior students studying a science subject. With the opening of the CSR the School is taking a significant step towards reversing the negative national trend in student uptake of science subjects at high school. At the opening Professor Andrews spoke about the importance of science in terms of engaging our students for the sake of

Through the Centre for Science Research (CSR), the School seeks to bring together Australia’s best science students, educators and professionals to provide opportunities to nurture and excite young scientists, and motivate high-quality scientific research to advance the future of science education.



Mr Alan Allinson, Head of Physics, and Year 12 student Kathryn Zealand were among twenty-five outstanding and innovative award winners during National Science Week (16 – 24 August 2008).The prestigious Peter Doherty Awards for Excellence in Science and Science Education are awarded to encourage more young Queenslanders to pursue careers in science as well as improve the quality of science education in the state. Mr Allinson received one of ten $5000 prizes, while Kathryn received one of ten $2000 awards.

work with colleagues in schools Australia-wide, and for providing his students with opportunities to engage in authentic scientific research.Through his involvement with the International Young Physicists Tournament he has raised the esteem in which physics education in Australia is held by educators and academics from the rest of the world. Mr Allinson and Kathryn will be presented with their awards at a special ceremony on 21 October.

While announcing the award winners Member for Brisbane Central, Grace Grace commented that this year’s nominations were of a very high standard and all winners should be justifiably proud of their efforts. Kathryn demonstrated an interest in science studies outside her normal school curriculum requirements and outstanding levels of achievement in at least two senior science subjects. Mr Allison, a passionate and dedicated physics educator, was recognised for this

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grammar gazette spring 2008

Student Care


It began with the music of Jack Johnson and ended with a moving soliloquy calling us to look deeply inwards and reorient ourselves to our own uniqueness. There aren’t many people who can hold a theatre filled with teachers entertained and engaged for a full day of professional development, but Dr Andrew Fuller did just that when he visited the School in July this year with a presentation specifically tailored to our needs and delivered in his own inimitable style. In three enjoyable and edifying sessions with academic staff, Dr Fuller summarised the latest research on adolescence, learning and brain development and the implications of this research for schools and families. As a clinical psychologist who specialises in the wellbeing of young people and their families, Dr Fuller works with many schools and communities in Australia and internationally. He is a Fellow of the Department of Psychiatry and the Department of Learning and Educational Development at the University of Melbourne. Based on his research on resilience, Dr Fuller has co-authored a series of programmes for the promotion of resilience and emotional intelligence used in over 3500 schools in Australia and Britain. He describes resilience as ‘the happy knack of being able to bungy jump through the pitfalls of life—to rise above adversity and obstacles’. Fortunately for us, Dr Fuller has the happy knack of putting his finger on the pulse of the adolescent experience. He understands their minds, their insecurities The adolescent mind was the topic when clinical psychologist and author of Raising Real People— Creating a Resilient Family, Dr Andrew Fuller, visited the School recently as guest speaker at forums for both parents and teachers.

Teaching staff appreciated the many practical suggestions for enhanced learning that Dr Fuller offered in this session. The following day, ideas such as using the Venn diagram to bring ideas together and link them with past knowledge, or note taking for memory enhancement were being used by teachers in their classrooms to assist their students achieve positive learning outcomes. In our final session, Dr Fuller spoke passionately about the important role teachers play in the development of their students’ intellectual, emotional, physical and spiritual selves. He encouraged teachers to foster their own resilience by caring for themselves and valuing what they do in order to be able to care for their students. Dr Fuller believes it is important that each of us reorient ourselves to what is within and re-engage with our passion and values in order to preserve our uniqueness. He urged us, as educators, to enable a spiritual transformation of the entire School community to occur by encouraging behaviour that values and promotes the development of virtues such as empathy, nobility and a good spirit. In the evening, the mood changed as Dr Fuller provided our parents with an amusing and helpful look at the vagaries of the adolescent mind with a session on ‘Raising real people— creating resilient families’ or ‘Don’t waste your breath—an introduction to the adolescent mind’. He knows how difficult it is to raise an adolescent and offered insight, reassurance

and humour to help bridge the gap between adolescent and parent. Using a disturbingly humorous video of cat herding (you had to be there) to recreate the parental experience—and the futility— of trying to manoeuvre or contain the adolescent, we came to understand that

shrug when we do it. It was most reassuring to hear that adolescents really do like their parents, that 82 per cent expect to be asked to help around the house and 57 per cent expect their parents to nag them. But perhaps the most important message he delivered was that children need our love

and capabilities, their habits and habitats, their challenges and strengths. Our first session focused on the neuroanatomy of learning with an emphasis on how girls learn. Dr Fuller wants our students to know that ‘passion’ beats ‘brains’, hands down. He reported on studies which show that successful students are not brighter, more confident or more hard working than peers who don’t do as well, but the students who achieve success use learning systems and strategies which help them to work smarter, not harder. Training, he said, beats talent, which means everyone can achieve. He likes the idea of school being a place where students come to ‘grow into’ their smartness. One of the great challenges for educators of girls, Dr Fuller said, is to assist them to develop an awareness of what they do well which will help them to become resilient learners. It will increase their motivation and pleasure in learning, build self regard and enable them to deal with setbacks much more effectively than criticism,

destructive for girls and needs to be actively challenged because it will undermine their success. He reiterated what we know so well—that students who perceive themselves to be valued and feel that they are in a positive learning environment have better intellectual, emotional, physical and social outcomes. In the second session, called the neurochemistry of student engagement, we heard how hormones and neurotransmitters such as dopamine, serotonin, adrenaline and cortisol affect learning and how parents and teachers can alter the levels of each in their students to optimise learning. For instance, a good breakfast, adequate sleep and daily exercise have been shown to influence serotonin levels, which can affect mood and learning. Puzzles, quizzes and games contain repetitive movement, challenge and novelty, which increase dopamine as well as resilience in learning. They also allow students a valuable opportunity to acquire practice at

nothing will get in the way of the adolescent who is engaged in achieving three of the ‘tasks’ of adolescence—the formation of identity, the uptake of logical rational thinking, and the ability to reproduce—and that this is as it should be.

nothing will get in the way of the adolescent who is engaged in achieving three of the ‘tasks’ of adolescence—the formation of identity, the uptake of logical rational thinking, and the ability to reproduce—and that this is as it should be. Dr Fuller did, however, have some very practical suggestions regarding what we can do to assist our young people achieve these tasks while maintaining our own sanity. He told us that during adolescence girls need turkey, lean beef and almonds as they are serotonin rich foods. We heard that dopamine decreases during adolescence which leads to a drop in motivation so it is the time to increase emotional rewards such as saying ‘I love you’—and that our children really like hearing this even if they grunt or

most when they deserve it least. He suggested that we regard our children’s behaviour during adolescence as the emergence of their personality rather than as the emergence of a problem. Michelangelo reportedly described his work as a sculptor as the process of removing excess marble which was concealing the beauty of the figure within. His job was a process of uncovering rather than creating. This is what Dr Fuller would wish for us, too. That in every interactionwe havewith the adolescents in our lives, we encourage the emerging personality so that the masterpiece within can be revealed. A noble purpose indeed.

Black and white thinking—‘I am smart’or ‘I am stupid’—can be especially destructive for girls and needs to be actively challenged because it will undermine their success.

failing, which Dr Fuller said, is more important than we realise. He believes that encouraging a culture of ‘having a go’ in a school builds resilience in students.

MS KAREN BELBIN School Counsellor

being judged, pointing out what they do wrong or focusing on their inadequacies. Black and white thinking—‘I am smart’ or ‘I am stupid’—can be especially

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MRS PHILLIPA GREIG Head of Accounting

MR STEPHEN FOGARTY Acting Director, Health Studies Faculty Teaching is something I became interested in from a relatively young age. Like many people, I look back at my own school years with genuine fondness for many of my teachers. Two in particular stand out as inspirational—an older cousin who was a Physical Education teacher and my secondary school English teacher. From these two people I learned a love of sport and the ability to analyse things critically. My goal as a Health Studies teacher is to encourage students to think about sport and physical performance in a critical way. Fortunately, at Girls Grammar, there is no shortage of girls who are willing to think critically. I joined the staff here in 2004 as Head of Senior Physical Education. Before teaching at Girls Grammar I worked exclusively in co-educational institutions and my experiences here have convinced me that single-sex schooling can be amazingly positive for girls. Never more so than in the context of sport and physical education, where girls tend to performwell beyond the traditional drop-out age of fourteen. As Co-ordinator of Basketball, this wonderful enthusiasm is something that I see first-hand throughout the year. Curriculumdevelopment is something that I have always found challenging and satisfying. Amajor aim in the continuing development of the programme is to equip each student with knowledge, skill and desire so that she may continue to see participation in physical activity, and the ability to make health related decisions, as important.

Sally Carter receiving her Prize from QUT’s Professor Christine Ryan

Before coming to Brisbane Girls Grammar School earlier this year I taught Drama and Music for a total of fifteen years with Education Queensland, and for the last three years I worked as Education Liaison Officer at QueenslandTheatre Company. This professional arts industry experience was some of the best professional development a teacher could hope for and has shapedmy vision for the girls’experiences at our School. The Queensland Theatre Company environment gave me an overview of all aspects of the theatre industry as well as the privilege of working with artists such as Michael Gow, Carol Burns and Barry Otto. The focus on young people allowed me to develop programmes for communities across the state for up to 35 000 three to twenty-one year olds. A key planning factor in the Drama Department is establishing and building a network with industry professionals to keep students and teachers up-to-date with current practice. This enables all Year levels to work with professional playwrights, designers, actors, dancers and directors throughout their course. Integrating technology into performance is another important aspect which will be developed within the new drama programme. Brisbane Girls Grammar is dedicated to providing an environment where girls learn together in a community that supports and encourages each student to reach her full potential in all she undertakes, and I have been impressed with the spirit in which Grammar girls approach their school life.

Accounting has an undeserved reputation for being dull or even boring but I delight in working with my students to enlighten them to the joys of finding that pesky little figure that prevents the balance sheet from achieving its definitive aim—‘balancing’! Prior to joining the staff of the School in 2002 as Head of Accounting I taught accounting and business subjects at a number of independent girls’ schools in Brisbane. I have also enjoyed tutoring at Queensland University of Technology and teaching pre-service accounting teachers in the dual and postgraduate degree programmes in the School of Education at The University of Queensland. While teaching accounting is my passion, I also co-author accounting and junior business texts and resources for teaching computerised accounting (MYOB) for use by students in Queensland and other states in Australia. Publishing in education is about having a genuine love for a subject and dedicated collaboration with colleagues to produce a text or a resource that students and teachers will find useful. Brisbane Girls Grammar School has provided me with exceptional opportunities for my own professional development. In November 2007 I was fortunate to receive a Sir Samuel Griffith Professional Development Scholarship from Griffith University to implement a research project into the training of pre-service accounting teachers in Queensland. Teaching, writing and researching—all require some ‘balancing’!


Ms Sally Carter (2007) was recently awarded the Pearson Education Australia Accounting in High Schools Prize at the 2008 QUT Business Faculty prize-giving ceremony. Sally’s prize was presented by Professor Christine Ryan, Head of the School of Accountancy at QUT. The award recognised her as the student who scored the highest percentage in the 2007 Accounting in High Schools Programme and who subsequently enrolled in a QUT Bachelor of Business course in 2008. Currently in the Dean’s Honours Accelerated Programme, Sally will complete her undergraduate degree plus Honours in three years. On the basis of her first semester results she was awarded a scholarship to cover the fees of her summer subjects and in addition, will receive $5 000 after she finishes her Honours year. Sally’s participation in this programme in her senior year at Grammar has certainly paid dividends for her in her tertiary studies.

Starting university in high school

The Queensland University of Technology (QUT) Accounting in High Schools Programme was initiated in 2001 by QUT School of Accountancy Senior Lecturer Ros Kent. This programme is offered as an extension–enrichment opportunity for Senior Accounting students at Brisbane Girls Grammar School but has additional benefits for the girls beyond their senior studies. Students sit the same university exams as regular QUT students but pay no fees, have access to QUT services including learning materials and texts, and gain credit for this subject towards their university degree. An important but perhaps less tangible advantage in undertaking this programme is that students get a taste of university level subjects and consequently feel more confident when they begin university. Passing this subject will also be acknowledged on the new Queensland Certificate of Education issued at the completion of Year 12.

‘For some extra time and effort outside of class polishing some basic skills and learning a few new ones I reaped the reward of having completed a university subject while still in Year 12’.

BSB110 Accounting is a first year core unit in all the majors of the QUT Bachelor of Business degree, and since the programme was initiated seventy-nine students from Brisbane Girls Grammar School have successfully completed the course. All girls who participated in the 2008 programme achieved a credit, distinction or high distinction for their semester’s work. Erin Bonney says of her experience: ‘The programme was rewarding and complemented our school study of Accounting. For some extra time and effort outside of class polishing some basic skills and learning a few new ones I reaped the reward of having completed a university subject while still in Year 12’.

MRS PHILLIPA GREIG Head of Accounting

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History’s Lessons Our staff present seminars to Queensland History teachers

Technology in Mathematics Education

Mathematics courses expose students to twenty-first century technologies. Dr Peter Jenkins discusses how they fit within the traditional notions of mathematics education.

History is an important course of study because by investigating the past students can make sense of the present and obtain critical insights for future possibilities.

In an age characterised by the ubiquity of technology, mathematics as a mode of thought, expression and discovery is evolving. Increased computing power and the development of sophisticated mathematical software have had the dual benefit of enabling mathematical ideas to be applied to more complex real-world problems, and enabling previously difficult mathematical concepts—for example, the visualisation of multi-variable functions—to be better understood by students. Despite this evolution, care must be taken when deciding how to incorporate technology in the mathematics classroom. The use of handheld calculators, for example, has always been controversial. Numerous educators (such as Perso, 2006, and Shuard, 1992) believe that there is little point teaching students mental or pencil and paper algorithms for arithmetic tasks since students will always have access to calculators or computers. Furthermore, they reason that the ease with which students can perform procedural tasks with a calculator frees the mind to focus on higher order thinking. Such attitudes ignore the hierarchical nature of mathematical concepts and imply that the steps in mathematical procedures are arbitrary and worthless. This is simply untrue. Consider the example of adding two fractions: important concepts such as equivalent fractions, highest common multiples, and the need for equivalent denominators in order to add the numerators, are consolidated each time a student performs

the algorithm. I believe only when a level of automaticity is reached with these concepts, will a student be able to understand more complex concepts such as the simplification of algebraic fractions. How then can technology be used to aid conceptual understanding instead of hindering it? The well-respected neuropsychologist and mathematician Stanislas Dehaene (1999) believed that educators must use technology to help students observe patterns, see connections, and observe the ‘fascinating regularity’ which so often appears in mathematics (p.135). At Brisbane Girls Grammar School, mathematics teachers use this rationale when creating dynamic geometry and algebra demonstrations using software such as Geogebra and Autograph, and helping students discover properties of functions and statistical data using their graphics calculators. One of the more recent developments in technology usage in mathematics education is the emergence of drill and practice software. Such software is designed to be used by students at home to gain additional practice at mathematics problems. Initially, such software packages were found to have little effect on student performance. Salomon (2000) states that ‘The use of review and practice applications is merely a repackaging of traditional teaching methods, with the content being displayed a bit faster and a bit nicer.’ (p.2). However, more recent versions of drill and practice software have

incorporated elaborate feedback loops which include additional explanations, and change the types of questions presented to the student based on previous mistakes. This incorporation of dynamic feedback to students has led to significant improvements in student performance (see Hill, 2007, for example). Brisbane Girls Grammar School students currently use the Mathletics and QAX software packages to gain additional practice solving mathematics problems. The educational rationale behind technology implementation in mathematics classes is clearly more important than the technology itself. Rather than attempting to adapt current curricula to suit the introduction of new technology (as is suggested in Kilderry et al., 2003), mathematics educators should instead focus on adapting the use of technology to better elucidate mathematical concepts. Dr Peter Jenkins Mathematics Faculty

Brisbane Girls Grammar has had a long and mutually rewarding connection with the Queensland History Teachers’ Association (QHTA).This connection dates back to the 1990s and has involved, among other things, Girls Grammar opening its doors and facilities to other Brisbane schools, private and public, for a series of QHTA History seminars. In the past eminent tertiary educators such as Associate Professor Russell Cowie fromThe University of Queensland and Dr Brian Hoepper from Queensland University of Technology (QUT) have addressed full audiences in the Gehrmann Theatre on topics related to modern history. This year for the first time Girls Grammar hosted both the QHTA Modern and Ancient History Student Seminars for central and north Brisbane schools. These seminars focused on popular topics drawn from the Senior Queensland Modern and Ancient History syllabuses.

History at Brisbane Girls Grammar and Vice-President of the QHTA, spoke about the rise of Hitler and the Nazi Party as a warning from history. Ms Hennessey cited the sobering words of Professor Ian Kershaw when he said that ‘Nazism cannot be regarded with detachment or seen as simply the arena for scholarly debates. Its history belongs to all of us. Its lessons should be heeded by all of us.’ (1997, p7). Nazism continues to be in our midst and this was dramatically illustrated by the Brisbane based flyer ‘Blood & Honour’ (see illustration) which was found at the bus stop between Boys and Girls Grammar some years ago.

hypothesis that people are the same regardless of time or place. She presented a range of evidence from Ancient China, India, Greece and Rome to encourage students to think about ancient people’s behaviour, ideas and emotions. Excerpts from the contemporary films Troy and Death at a Funeral were compared with extracts from the Hindu epic Mahabharata and the Funeral Oration of Pericles, the classical Greek statesman. Key to Ms Bolton’s presentation was the notion that history can give us a fuller understanding of ourselves and our common humanity. Collectively the presentations from the 2008 History Student Seminars illustrated the endless chain of history which links past, present and future. History is an important course of study because by investigating the past students can make sense of the present and obtain critical insights for future possibilities. Ms Julie Hennessey Head of History

References 1. Dehaene, S. (1999). The Number Sense. London: Penguin Books.

In one of the 2008 Modern History seminars, Ms Julie Hennessey, Head of Foreword by Professor Ian Kershaw in Rees, L. (1997). The Nazis: AWarning from History. London: BBC. In the 2008 Ancient History seminars, Ms Samantha Bolton, former Head of Ancient History and Head of Woolcock House at Girls Grammar, explored the

2. Hill, S. (2007). Mathletics - Improvement Analysis. Retrieved June 21, 2008, from 3. Kilderry, A., Yelland, N., Lazaridis, V., & Dragicevic, S. (2003). ICT and Numeracy in the Knowledge Era: Creating Contexts for New Understandings. Childhood Education, 79 (5), 293-298. 4. Perso, T. (2006). Issues concerning the teaching and learning of mathematics and numeracy in Australian schools. Australian Mathematics Teacher, 62 (1), 20-27. 5. Salomon, G. (2000). It’s not just the tool but the educational rationale that counts. Keynote address presented at Ed-Media, Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Retrieved June 21, 2008, from 6. Shuard, H. (1992). CAN: Calculator use in the primary grades in England andWales. In J.T. Fey, & C. R. Hirsh (Eds.). Calculators in Mathematics Education: 1992 Yearbook. NCTM, Reston: VA.

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Senior Drama Production The Crucible

Arthur Miller’s

tale of truth and trial

The 2008 Senior Production of Arthur Miller’s The Crucible began with auditions in April where a number of nervous looking boys met a number of equally nervous looking girls.

Gradually, nerves subsided as rehearsals got into full swing. Read throughs graduated to blocking runs and eventually the cast managed to let go of their scripts. Scenes were chopped and changed, studied and strengthened until finally the play came together as a full production.This was not achieved without long, intense rehearsal sessions yet somehow it never seemed to stop being fun! By August the cast was ready and a preview performance was held for senior students from both Brisbane Girls Grammar School and Brisbane Grammar School, many of whom study The Crucible in English. It was a perfect way to launch the production— the actors realised how much support they had from their peers, which helped ease first night nerves considerably.The show went off without a hitch and everyone was relieved to see all their hard work come to fruition. The Creative Learning Centre provided a fantastic stage for this particular production, and its sheer size and structure helped set the foreboding, cold mood of the Puritan town of Salem. Special thanks must go to all the actors and technicians who took part in the production and the cast and crew would like to express their gratitude to the play’s director Mrs Riveros. Her vision for this production made it an amazing learning experience for everyone involved. Grace Cowderoy Drama Captain



Students compose works for leading Australian music ensemble

international composers, including those from Canada (Tim Brady), and the UK (Andrew Poppy, Michael Nyman, and Jeremy Peyton Jones). A member of Topology worked with students on a weekly basis to develop and support their skills in composing original music pieces. The students used Year 12 artwork as stimulus for their compositions and these images were projected as Topology performed the girls’ work in a special performance concert, Visions of Self.

Throughout Term III Year 12 music students had a unique opportunity to participate in a composition workshop with Topology, one of Australia’s leading new instrumental ensembles. Topology is recognised for its energetic, full-bodied sound and has built a solid audience base since it formed more than ten years ago. The group regularly performs to sold-out houses around Australia and its concerts are broadcast nationally by the ABC. They continually work and consult with numerous

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Grammar Girls


The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award adventure, challenge and teamwork

Winning Space

Everyone has their own reasons for participating in the Awards— the flexibility of the programme means girls can try something new or choose something they are already involved in to contribute toward an Award. Many girls use their involvement in the School’s Music and Drama programmes towards fulfilling the Skills section of the Award. Likewise, participation in one of the School’s many sporting teams can count towards the Physical Recreation section of the Award. The Service section of the Award requires girls to make a regular commitment to a Community Service Provider and has clear links to the School’s Year 10 Service Programme. Girls use overseas school tours and school camps as well as the two bushwalking expeditions offered by the School each year for the Adventurous Journey section of the Award. It requires real determination and commitment to achieve a Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, but the effort is certainly worth it as the girls gain increased self-belief, self-confidence and a sense of identity and responsibility. Dr Natasha Mayne Co-ordinator

The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award is a flexible programme for young people between the ages of fourteen and twenty-five. This year 94 Grammar girls joined the programme, swelling our membership base to 150 girls. Organised around three levels—Bronze, Silver and Gold— each level requires girls to complete sections in Service, Skills, Physical Recreation and Adventurous Journey. The commitment and dedication required to complete any level of the Award is significant.

Mooting Awards

Mooting is an exceptionally difficult skill requiring prodigious preparation, a firm understanding of the law, and analytical skills of the highest order —as well as the ability to communicate effectively in both oral and written communication. Recently a Girls Grammar team participated in the finals of the Bond University High Schools Mooting Competition.The School was represented by Senior Counsel At Brisbane Girls Grammar we aim to provide every possible opportunity for the girls to challenge themselves, to work collaboratively in teams and to experience the wonders of mathematics, science and technology as it applies to the world around them. Each year, the girls enter a number of competitions which provide a team environment for them to put their mathematical and technological skills to the test. Our most recent achievement has been the Girls Solving IT For Themselves competition – a major competition for Years 8 and 9 students, which Girls Solving IT for Themselves

Lucinda Brabazon, Junior Counsel Tess Evans and Instructing Solicitor Emily Burr.This year the moot problem revolved around the issue of negligence and contributory negligence. The team performed extremely well answering some very searching questioning from the Bench, which included a number of senior legal academics.This is the first time that a Girls Grammar team has reached the finals.

As well as being awarded the prize for the most outstanding team in the Brisbane Region, Tess Evans won an advocacy award in the preliminary round, as did Lucinda Brabazon during the finals.The group prize, as well as the individual prizes, are testament to the talent, skill, determination and advocacy skills of the students involved in the 2008 competition. Dr Bruce Addison Co-ordinator This year, more than sixty schools across South East Queensland participated in the event. Girls Grammar teams took out the top three places in the Year 9 division, and the top two places in the Year 8 division. This was a fantastic outcome, and is attributable to the girls’ dedication, creativity, teamwork and of course the high standard of teaching they enjoy in the Sciences and Mathematics. Mr Rick Bowman Co-ordinator

Spaces shape and change practice. Engaging, adaptable spaces energise students, teachers and the community. Well-designed learning spaces inspire creative, productive and efficient learning. (MCEETYA, 2008).

Recently, the state’s most prestigious prize for architecture was won by m3architecture for the Cherrell Hirst Creative Learning Centre, along with a commendation for Interior Architecture. The jury for the FDG Stanley Award for Public Architecture commented ‘This is a breathtaking building in every way and from every vantage—a dynamic learning place for girls and young women, which reflects the client’s depth of knowledge regarding links between socialisation patterns and girls’ education’. As we learnmore about what creates optimal conditions for teaching and learning in modern times, the relationship between pedagogy and the physical learning

environment becomes increasingly important as a factor—space, both physical and virtual, has an important impact on how we learn. Over the last decade innovation in the design of learning spaces in Australia and overseas is incorporating changes in generational learning and social patterns with a consequent shift to a more learner centred focus. Brisbane Girls Grammar School is committed to providing optimal conditions for its students and staff in line with leading-edge research on creating the most advantageous conditions for effective learning. The Centre contributes significantly to the learning and social spaces of the School, enhancing

academic endeavour and creativity within a thriving community of learners. It is truly a pivotal space for the whole School community to enjoy. The Centre was also the recipient of the 2008 Brisbane Housing and Construction Award for Education Facilities over $12 million, and in 2007 was voted Top Building by The Architects programme on Melbourne radio station 3RRR. On 2 August 2008 The Queensland Art Gallery opened Place Makers: Contemporary Queensland Architects at the Gallery of Modern Art (GoMA), and the Cherrell Hirst Creative Learning Centre was included within the selected works as one of the state’s most exciting public buildings.

celebrates National Numeracy Week. There were a variety of events including individual competitions and a team event where students were required to undertake quite demanding projects involving high levels of teamwork, creativity and persistence.

References Ministerial Council on Education, Employment, Training and Youth Affairs (MCEETYA). (2008). Learning Spaces Framework. Retrieved 2 September, 2008, from Wallace, M. & Stutchbury, S. (Eds.). (2008). Place Makers: Contemporary Queensland Architects. Brisbane: Queensland Art Gallery.

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