Dear PLC Sydney Community
An effective educator assists students to ask the right questions.
I wrote this article from Shanghai, China where I was meeting with various educational bodies and school leaders. I also viewed some exceptional scientific equipment (nanotechnology) which we are hoping to have donated to PLC Sydney. Of course, there are risk assessments that must be undertaken before this equipment can be installed in the school. The exciting thing about this equipment is that it represents the nexus of excellence in scientific research and in business enterprise. I will tell you more about it when we have finished our proper processes.
The point I am seeking to get to in introducing this topic is that I met with the female CEO of a very large technology company in Shanghai. Her background is in science and business. The thing that sets her apart is that she knows how to ask questions.
Much of the mainstream Chinese education system is about being drilled in the basics. This CEO is a woman in her early 40s. Her company is meticulous in its attention to detail and yet they know how to ask questions.
When I met recently with the ‘Young Women in Enterprise Committee’ – a group comprised of some of our staff and some leading women in enterprise who are also mothers of our college – one of the women noted that a priority for us should be to assist our students to work out problems in our current world, and then to seek to work out solutions.
How can we preserve our global bee population?
How can we create clean energy?
Or smaller scale matters:
How can we transfer goods easily from a shop to a vehicle?
How can we more easily organise the flow of people through a school?
On our Open Day and Fair, some of our Cambridge Global Perspectives students were explaining in their presentation in the Macindoe Research Centre that the reason why they love this course is that they are taught to ask questions and then to seek answers to them. It is not just in the Global Perspectives course that we take this approach. It is one of the main reasons why last week we had three PLC Sydney students representing Australia in the USA in dealing with scientific questioning and research. It is why we are holding the student-led PLC Sydney Science Summit on Saturday 3 June. It is why we are so keen to further develop our programs in STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics) and PATH (Philosophy and Theology).
Students continue to need to deal with actual content. Otherwise, they can’t populate the answers to their questions. They are like musicians. They need the scales to be able to play with poise and beauty in the orchestra. When we are in the mountains we must always remember what it is like to be by the sea. Thus, at PLC Sydney we value both learning to ask questions and the development of deep understandings.
As we develop our strategic and master plans through to 2030, with an eye to 2050, we will use this framework as basic to what we do.
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On behalf of PLC Sydney, I write my sincere thanks to the PLC Sydney P & F for an exceptional Open Day and Fair. This day has four goals:
- To build school community
- To showcase our curriculum
- To welcome new people and future enrolments to our college
- To raise funds
Once more each of these goals has been met. What wonderful leadership from Rebecca and Drue Prentice and what magnificent support from many families. Thank you! I will now write to each person who contributed to thank them.
I also warmly invite you to our PLC Sydney Dinner Dance on Saturday 3 June at the Grace Hotel. We would love to see you there.
I also note the Science Summit, also on Saturday 3 June, during the day, for our students.
Finally, please join us on Monday 5 June at the P & F Meeting where we will be discussing:
- Traffic around the College
- Next steps in uniform
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Finally, PLACES, the new PLC Sydney portal, has now had its first iteration launched. As the interface where parents, staff and students can access all the online services PLC Sydney has to offer including Notices, Calendar, Parent Portal (Edumate), Enable, Google Mail, Timetable, Service Desk, PLC Sydney website etc, it will continue to be developed over time. Rather than the numerous emails you once received, we are seeking to send you one email (the Weekly Digest) with all the latest news and notifications, each Friday. Please read it carefully as there are new notifications posted each week relevant to your daughter. Information can also be viewed, at any time, within the Notices or Calendar sections of PLACES.
Thank you for all the positive comments we have received about PLACES to date. Our Communications team will be holding a series of consultation meetings, plus attending the next P & F meeting on Monday 5 June, to further incorporate the feedback from your experience, which in turn will inform our future development for PLACES. There is much being planned for the future.
PLACES is now our primary means of communication. Please visit places.plc.nsw.edu.au for your ‘one stop shop’ for all information about PLC Sydney.
All the best for the week ahead.
Dr Paul Burgis