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

From the Head of Senior School

As we return from our Summer break, it is a chance to look at the year ahead and think about what we would like to achieve as individuals and as a community. The boys will have an opportunity to look not just at their academic goals, but also in their lives beyond the classroom.

Lee Watanabe-Crockett, author and founder of the Global Digital Citizen Foundation and Wabisabi Learning, visited the College recently and challenged staff to improve 1% with each and every lesson we teach. We were encouraged to try different things and obviously, when doing this, at times there will be successes and, at other times, the outcome may not be as we had hoped. The challenge though is to always aim for improvement in whatever we are doing. This same '1% challenge' may be a practice our students could adopt. We encourage them to strive to give their best in their academic pursuits and also look at other goals they have in their co-curricular activities, which help bring balance to their lives and improve wellbeing. The importance of making small changes cannot be understated and when these improvements compound over time, the outcome can be a large impact upon the individual. Furthermore, small attainable goals allow for ongoing success, all the while working towards a bigger picture that may appear too difficult when viewed in isolation.

John Naber, an American swimmer, used this method in setting himself the goal of winning the 100m men's backstroke event at the 1976 Olympics. In 1972, he had a best time of 59.5 seconds and predicted he would need to swim 55.5 to win the event four years later at the Olympics. This would have been a huge task when looked at with just the end result in mind, but he broke it down to one second per year, then further still to about one-tenth of a second per month and then to one three-hundredths of a second per day. He obviously didn't measure this progress daily, but set out to attain certain bench marks along the way. John went on to win the Gold Medal in Montreal in a then world record time of 55.49 seconds.

I encourage our boys to set small attainable goals this year in their various pursuits as they work towards a larger goal. The ability to achieve success along the way is important and helps maintain motivation, energy and persistence. It also gives us the ability to deal with setbacks or unforeseen challenges. By working towards overcoming obstacles, we can build our resilience and improve our mental agility. These skills are important in our development and we continue to build upon them throughout our lives.

I wish everyone well for 2019 and look forward to the year ahead.

Mr Peter Burt
Head of Senior School