Girls Grammar’s motto is “Clever, Confident, Connected”. These are three very important dispositions – developing them will be beneficial for our students, not just in work but in the significant challenges and experiences they will face throughout their lives.
The Cambridge definition of clever is “having or showing the ability to learn and understand things quickly and easily”. The problem with this definition is that being clever could be interpreted as a static given, something we’re born with, much as we’re born with blue eyes or brown hair. Whilst we all have the ability to be ‘clever’, to be clever we need to thrive on challenges and see failure as a springboard for growth. If our girls believe their intelligence is inherited, then they will have a closed mindset to learning and development, potentially stifling their opportunities. When we talk about our girls being clever, we want them to seek opportunities to grow through application and experience. By recognising opportunities, taking advantage of resources and support structures and applying themselves diligently and wholeheartedly to every experience, they will cultivate a passion for learning that will ensure they are ‘clever’.
The second part of our motto is “Confident”. Being confident does not mean being arrogant or conceited. Being confident means having self-belief. It’s the feeling of certainty that you can accomplish whatever you set your mind to, even when nervous or afraid. Like intelligence, confidence can be created and we can find ways of being more confident. Creating confidence is not about knowing it all; it’s about trusting that no matter what happens in a particular situation, you’ll be able to handle it and learn from the outcome.
Girls’ schools support girls to become confident, empowered and strong young women. They encourage girls to be authentic and courageous, to use their voices and pursue leadership opportunities. At Girls Grammar, we want girls to be confident enough to know who they are and make decisions for themselves. Confident girls grow up to be confident women and this has significant implications for our society, our nation and our world.
Connected can refer to our relationships, including the social, familial, professional and incidental relationships that we build. It can also relate to our local, national and global connections – building connections means building understandings so that we can more thoughtfully approach our goals and challenges. The events of 2020 in particular have shown us how connections can occur in many forms, not just face-to-face. As well as being important for our mental and physical wellbeing, strong connections provide us with happiness, security, support and a sense of purpose.
How does Girls Grammar facilitate opportunities for girls to be “clever, confident and connected”?
Girls Grammar has a deliberate focus on developing each of these dispositions in girls. Every day in every classroom we provide opportunities for our students to develop their intellectual capabilities. 100% of the teacher’s attention goes to girls. They are encouraged to speak up, to take risks, to challenge and debate. Our students are willing to ask for help, they are confident to experiment and encouraged to challenge themselves. We support them to develop a healthy disposition for learning by providing learning activities that involve innovation, agility and creative thinking and we facilitate opportunities for them to pursue the study of any subject, regardless of stereotypical beliefs. Our students design and build bridges in Digital Technologies, use mathematical modelling and computational methods to formulate and solve practical problems, create compounds in Senior Chemistry and consider ways to optimise yields and foster sustainable farming in Agriculture. They also dance, sing, create, compose, write, and debate. They play basketball, Oztag, soccer, netball and rugby. They role model healthy and realistic images of strong females, and they promote positive core values. They encourage and mentor other students, providing care and concern for their ‘sisters’. Girls Grammar girls lead by example, providing guidance and support within and across year levels.
Being clever, confident and connected leads to action, attention and resilience. The possession of these traits ensures that when our girls graduate, when they pursue their careers, they will not miss opportunities because they have underestimated their abilities or their performance. They will not stifle their achievements with self-doubt, nor will they miss an opportunity because they decide not to try. Research shows that women’s confidence increases more with age but being educated in an all girls’ environment ensures that opportunities aren’t lost in the early years. Girls Grammar girls are clever, confident and connected, and this is what gives them an advantage in their future opportunities.