«22 July 2016 Why is it that we are obsessed about getting the answer right? From Daniela Pitt’s Computer (Director Academics High School) I wonder ...»
22 July 2016
Why is it that we are obsessed about getting the answer right?
From Daniela Pitt’s Computer (Director Academics High School)
I wonder sometimes if we are sensitive enough to distinguish between goal
setting and perfection? As a teacher who has spent so many years striving “to
perfect” thinking and academic endeavors, I often need to interrogate my
responsibilities and methods and remind others and myself that we must never
lose sight of our humanism.
We all love success and there is little equal joy to seeing a child’s face light up while holding a report reflecting exemplary results. As parents and teachers we yearn and teach our children to better themselves, try a little harder, to “improve” their scores, and of course, aim for the top. “If you are second, you are the first loser”.
But in our quest for this, we are in danger of demanding only what is deemed as perfection. As parents and teachers we need to stand back sometimes and recognize that raw ambition can morph to excessive ambition, our hubris. We must proceed cautiously lest the Ancient Greeks believed that our hubris brings on nemesis or catastrophe! Let’s look around us: perfection has become the new norm – or so we are led to believe. From genetic engineering to wonder cures we are seeking a future life style for our children that will be pain and disease-free with longevity at the helm. We have become a society that is, sadly intolerant to errors, critical of children making mistakes, obsessed at ensuring that answers are always right. Socially, we seek the physical beauty of Aphrodite, in what we wear, who we mix with and of course, to strive for scores that reflect top percentiles. I think we are missing the big picture.
I can hear solitary cynical voices in the wings thinking that not striving for perfection will only endorse mediocrity. After all, Henry Thoreau, an American essayist used a wonderful analogy to show the very pitfalls of mediocrity when he explained how a young boy who had gathered materials for a temple for thirty years only concluded by building a woodshed! Certainly we do not want a generation of mediocrity and nor do we encourage it. We need to strike a happy balance. We should strive for greatness of self, a positive self-worth, which varies from person to person. A 90% score in Mathematics for one is as great an accomplishment as a 60% score for another. The difference between mediocrity and greatness lies in the way mistakes are viewed.
My experience has been that generating personal goals of greatness generates a happy, positive child.
Parents who endorse this, rather than chasing raw ambition serve their children well. Bear with me for a while.
The Grade Tens this term have been involved in a pilot project called SAM (Subject Assessment Module) which, broadly speaking is an alternate form of assessment and learning involving research and collaborative learning in small groups. Pupils jumped for joy at the thought of not writing exams. “This is soooo cool!” they chanted. Parents raised their eyebrows: “What is going to happen to the marks?” And teachers balanced their annual programmes to see how and in what way these could be accommodated. Do we know if it is going to succeed? We have an inkling, but we are not sure. There is real magic in enthusiasm in our Grade Tens and it spells the difference between mediocrity and greatness! We researched global trends that seem to echo various forms of research-based collaborative tasks. Further, our first assessment of this is that it is generating thinking and reflection; small groups ensure that mediocrity is not easily followed! Teachers are finding the interaction with pupils positive, with learning in a different way and assessing in a different way effective on the whole. Can we refine it? We certainly can. We will learn from our mistakes. We will reflect, tweak and review. Next term we will give you a more in-depth report on SAM.
The balance of the High School is glumly writing exams, wishing that they were “SAMmers” like the Grade 10s! For them, learning occurs on a different platform in a more formal setting. Some may achieve the greatness that they aspire, while others will fall short of it. However, reflection and interrogation of the examination process by both parents and pupils goes a long way in securing a successful path forward. The
anxiety that pupils experience in examinations can in many instances be controlled in three easy ways:
1. ensuring that adequate preparation has taken place
2. ensuring that parental expectations are realistic and generate support
3. ensuring that the pupil examines and evaluates how the full learning process from time management, to preparation and writing of the exam may be enhanced.
The final message for this newsletter is left to Albert Einstein who stated wisely that “anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new”!
Swaziland soccer tour:
During the first weekend of Midterm, the Open boys’ and Open girls’ soccer teams competed in an international tournament hosted by Waterford College in Mbabane, Swaziland. We stayed at the Happy Valley Hotel where we were spoilt with awesome hospitality and food.
The tournament took place on Saturday the 2nd and Sunday the 3rd of July. The participating schools were Waterford College A and B, Elengeni High School, SAIM, Enjabulweni High School and St. Francis High School.
The SAHETI teams played a great brand of soccer throughout the tournament where we achieved mixed results.
This tour was an unforgettable experience with many memories and lasting friendships made both on and off the soccer field.
Thanks Mr. Loate, Mr. Venter, Ms. Mogale and Mr. Taylor for accompanying our teams on this tour.
Jason Joannou Congratulations to Jason Joannou for being selected to join the Wits under 17 professional team. This achievement is as a result of years of hard work and dedication to soccer. We are very proud of you Jason!
Good luck with the rest of your season!
Gauteng Schools U13 Boys Football:
Grade 3-7 Hockey Clinic – Saturday 16 July Pictures below of the Primary School Hockey clinic that was run on the Astro at St Andrew’s School for Girls over the weekend, attended by over 70 players.
The clinic was presented by Lance Louw, current SA Men’s Olympic player and his team from Epic Hockey Crew.
Below: Pupils learning all about the short corner and various other skills
Sports achievements outside of school:
U13 Boys Gauteng Tennis:
Lethabo Bapela represented Gauteng in the U13 Boys tennis team in the recent interprovincial tennis championships. This team won the silver medal at the championship. Well done, Lethabo!
U10 Easterns Age Group:
Congratulations to Michael Alagiozoglou who was selected through his club (Olympia) to represent the Eastern Local Football Association in the Easterns U10 age group.
U11 Easterns Development Age Group Alexandros Defterios and Ranko Sakota who were selected through their club (Corinthians) to represent the Eastern Local Football Association in the Easterns U11 Development age group.
SAHETI OUTREACH: Mandela Day Nelson Mandela followed three rules throughout
his life, which he did at great personal sacrifice:
1. Free yourself.
2. Free others.
3. Serve every day.
Mandela Day is a global call to action for citizens of the world to take up the challenge and follow in the formidable footsteps of Madiba, a man who transformed his life, served his country and freed his people. Its objective is to inspire individuals to take action to help change the world for the better and in so doing, to build a global movement for good.
The SAHETI learners consistently embrace Mandela Day with vigour and enthusiasm. This year was no exception with a myriad of planned activities to commemorate the day.
SAHETI Pre-Primary School pupils collected 70 blankets for Ntataise Day Care and Orphanage in the Alexandra area, which houses children between the ages of 2-19 years. Lucy Gemmell, an NGO from “Everybody loves everybody” put SAHETI in touch with this orphanage, which is one of their new charities.
She personally collected the blankets, accompanied by four of the residents of Ntataise.
Apart from this, the learners also helped refurbish the Kempton Park SPCA. Cans of food were also collected by the High School which will be used to create a meal to feed the homeless.
A huge thank you needs to go out to all the teachers for motivating their learners and making them aware and empathetic of the needs of our impoverished nation. A special thank you to our parents who also never stop giving out of the generosity of their hearts.
Mrs B. Soobramoney – Outreach and Community Service Co-ordinator
2016 PRIZE GIVING CEREMONY FOR MATRICULANTS, GRADUATES AND
POSTGRADUATES OF GREEK DESCENTSAHETI School, on behalf of the Board, organizes a Prize Giving Ceremony annually to honour the Academic achievements of young people of Greek descent who matriculated or graduated in the previous year (2015).
We would like to hear of matriculants, graduates and postgraduates who completed their studies in 2015 irrespective of what School or University in Gauteng they attended, in order to include them in this special event. This will take place on Sunday 31 July at 14h30 for 15h00 in the George Bizos Hall. Please contact the Marketing Department before 15 July on tel: 011 479 3769 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org “Saheti Second Hand School Uniform and Text Book Face Book page”
Parents who would like to join this group, please type in the following: