The Thistle - An E-Newsletter of Scotch College, Perth, Western Australia

From the Head of Senior School


The theme of this week's Chapel services has been Respect. In fact, it has been a major theme of the beginning of the term, with respect and acting with honour forming a major part of the Years 10 and 11 Student Conferences in Week 1. This probably does not come as a surprise to anyone who knows Scotch College as, while it is not a core value of the College, it is one of the major attributes of being a good citizen that the College promotes. Specifically, we promote respect through valuing self, family, community and environment.

During the conference days the session presented to the Year 10 students by Dan McGrechan challenged the boys to consider: What makes a man? What is true manhood? What is it to be a man of respect? During the presentation Dan developed a definition of manhood based on character. In fact, he defined character development as a series of steps beginning with choices then actions which become established as habits which define one's character. It is these initial choices, and our consideration of their ramifications, that define us. Therefore, practising making good choices and showing respect towards others is important. We have recently reinforced this message with the Year 10 cohort and challenged them to make these good choices at all times, not just when someone is watching. In addition, we urged them to take the initiative when they witness situations where one of their peers may show a lack of respect and to be active in helping each other in those moments; where they may forget or not understand the harm their actions are causing. Not an easy thing to do, but easier when it becomes the norm in the group.

Respect is an essential foundation for good relationships. Being respectful means respecting others' differences. Remaining cognisant of how we speak to others, taking the time to listen and reflecting before we respond is a sound process in achieving this, but not one synonymous with adolescence. Showing an appreciation of difference, in lieu of the term tolerance, is a skill we should continue to encourage. I am thankful for the Well-being programme developed at Scotch College. It addresses the specific needs of our students and incorporates these attributes and other skills, developing them in our boys and in their daily life. Of course, many boys do this well while for others it remains a challenge for them to embrace. I have great faith that they know what the 'right thing' to do is when asked but, like any skill, the proof is in the application during a time of need or when under pressure.

Children and adolescents who know how they are unique and special are better prepared to handle an encounter with someone who is not respectful of individual differences. Praise them when they handle difficult people or circumstances respectfully. Likewise, immediately explain why other behaviours are disrespectful. As always, modelling respectful behaviour and treating your children with respect are important.

Given my dealing with parents at the College, I am pleased to say that there is some very fine role modelling occurring which goes a long way to helping us achieve our goal of, together, developing respectful and caring young men.

Mr Dean Shadgett
Head of Senior School