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Girls Grammar Curriculum Catch-Up - Defining Success: Beyond Grades and Stereotypes

What truly defines a successful person? At first glance, it may seem like a straightforward question. Wealth, power, and popularity are often perceived as the markers of success. However, true success encompasses a multitude of factors. While academic achievement is often equated with high grades, I believe that there is more to it than that. Learning and growth hold great value here at Girls Grammar and the ability to think creatively is an essential quality for success.

Throughout my years in education, I've had the privilege of teaching hundreds of students, ranging from primary school through to university level. I've encountered highly competent students who can accurately reproduce learned material with great understanding. I've also witnessed students who have delved deeper, developing a profound grasp of the subject and establishing connections between various topics. These moments have been truly rewarding. However, what I've valued the most is when students exhibit creative thinking in their approach to mathematics. It brings me immense joy when a student presents a solution to a problem in a way that I had never considered before. Creative thinkers are not confined by memorised procedures and knowledge; instead, they build upon them to form their own original thoughts and ideas.

Creativity is often seen as an inherent trait that one is either born with or without. Yet, I argue that, like all aspects of academia, creativity can be cultivated and learned. The Arts foster and encourage creativity, which in turn transfers to other academic fields. It is a well-established fact that there is a significant link between musical and mathematical thinking, and high-achieving students in one area often excel in the other. I recently heard a story from a colleague where students from his school won an international robotics competition not because of their robotics skills (which were comparable to other competing schools) but because of their presentation skills learnt from their Arts background.

This term, our current Year 7 to 10 students will have the opportunity to select their elective subjects for 2024. I strongly urge all students to carefully consider their choices and, of course, pursue their areas of passion. As part of this process, I encourage students to at least contemplate how the Arts can complement their curriculum choices and enhance their creative abilities.

Success is not limited to grades or conforming to stereotypes. It encompasses personal growth, the ability to think outside the box, and embrace creativity. Let us foster an environment that values diverse talents and encourages students to explore the Arts as part of their academic pursuits. By doing so, we empower them to become well-rounded individuals ready to face the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.

Dr John Fry

Deputy Principal - Studies



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