02 Aug From good to great in junior school
From Good to Great in Junior School
Every Thursday morning Woodstock students and parents alike pile into the quad auditorium to attend the junior school assembly. After a few songs and announcements it’s time for the student of the week awards to be handed out
Although during a school year most students willin some way be acknowledged for their achievements and receive an award, this not a casual process. Each award is special and carefully thought-out. This tradition highlights the most important goal we have for student learning: enabling students to find their inner resources and build those qualities of character and values that will enable them to succeed.
Highlighting these developing qualities in the students has a dual purpose. It encourage teachers to keep on track, remembering what is important beyond pure academics, and it provides real-world examples to students of how these ideals are lived out, why they are important, and why being change agents for good is worthy of applause.
As teachers share these great choices and achievements each week the students shyly stand up and stand at the front of the auditorium as they are given their certificate in front of their peers. Most beam with pride – and rightly so. It is good to reward character, not just performance. The following examples give just a flavour of what junior school values.
For Persistence: This student keeps working even when they don’t understand, seeking help at lunch or after school and doing extra homework in order to master difficult math concepts/skills.
For Resilience: This student did not achieve as highly in an assignment as they would have liked but instead of complaining, worked harder for the rest of the semester to bring their grade up.
For Organisation: This student is always ready for lessons with all equipment and regularly offers to help hand out books or equipment needed for a particular lesson.
For Getting Along: This student regularly makes positive encouraging comments to others about their work and is prepared to help those who are struggling to understand.
For Confidence: This student struggles with reading and public speaking but really wanted to be part of the Christmas rap. He worked with learning support teachers and Mrs Wiggins at lunchtime to practise and become confident in his presentation – he did a brilliant job!
Self-Discovery: This student is not extrovert but is quiet,preferring to be in the background. They are hardworking, careful, and conscientious, and art class is a fantastic platform for them to explore. They are rewarded for self-expression in a non-threatening way, and for their unique and truly special contribution in art.
Good choices: This student made the right choice even when it was hard. A great example and we are all so proud!
For a habit of excellence: This student handed in a paper, Mr Cooper was not surprised that it was excellent not and they took great pride in themselves, their work and purposefully creating a habit of excellence in all they do.
Jim Collin’s follow-up to From Good to Great, Great by Choice, captures the characteristics we are trying to engender in our students: “When the moment comes – when we’re afraid, exhausted or tempted – what choice do we make? Do we abandon our values? Do we give in? Do we accept average performance because that’s what most everyone accepts? Do we capitulate to the pressure of the moment? Do we give up on our dreams when we’ve been slammed by brutal facts? The greatest leaders we’ve studied throughout all our research cared as much about values as victory, as much about purpose as profit, as much about being useful as being successful.”
Thank you to Pam Wiggins (Grade 5), Ian Whiteman (Grade 6), Rebecca Layton (JS Art) and Andrew Cooper (Grade 3) for sharing their student of the week awards.