Planting and Harvesting

Chris Ivey / Academic

Last week in Secondary Chapel, Mr Barrett took some time to challenge

12 February 2021

From Our Principal Reverend Chris Ivey: Planting and Harvesting

Planting and Harvesting

Last week in Secondary Chapel, Mr Barrett took some time to challenge the students to review their VIA character strengths and decide which ones they want to improve. I have attached a link here for parents who aren’t aware of VIA.

Secondary students will be familiar with the concept and everyone will be doing them again in Personal Capacity class in early 2021. The 24 strengths fall under six broad topics of Wisdom, Courage, Humanity, Justice, Temperance and Transcendence. Knowing, valuing and working on character strengths is something that falls under our Personal Capacity banner and is revisited every year. It helps students reflect on areas where they show a real strength and other areas where perhaps, with some focus they could develop that character. For me, one of my top strengths is 'Hope'. I acknowledge I am a natural optimist so this makes some sense. But not so strong for me was the character strength of ‘Appreciation of beauty’. So, in recognising that, I have worked hard over the last couple of years to try and slow down sometimes, to take the time to properly reflect on what is around me and appreciate it, especially the natural world. As my family will attest, I’m not there yet! However knowing the areas in which I can improve is the first step.

As Mr Barrett continued his Chapel, he used a passage from the Bible which provides an analogy of this notion of growth. The Bible verse talks about what you plant and tend, or what you put effort into, will over time, bear fruit or become who you are. He gave one example around the VIA strength 'self-regulation', challenging students to put their own restrictions on screen time, and to completely remove their phone when they are focusing on things like study, to focus on one task rather than being distracted by the ever present ‘buzz’. The long term rewards of being aware of themselves and improving in one or two areas are huge. So I want to encourage you to chat with your children about the notion of focusing on an aspect of their character strengths and an aspect of their school life in which they want to improve.  

To add to this theme, Mr Bowen has written about goal-setting for students this week in his article and has used the SMART model. Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-Bound. I encourage you to click through to this article.

As a College and as parents we need to be in partnership on developing these skills in our children and we know from experience and research, it helps to start young. For Primary parents, teaching children to set simple goals for themselves when they are in Primary school begins to build this into their character. This is just one of many examples of ways in which we can be proactive in the building of character strengths in our students.

Author Profile

Chris Ivey

In his own words, Chris “enables things to happen” at St Andrew’s. As Principal of the College, he leads the development and progression of St Andrew’s by enabling staff and students to achieve their personal best. Chris is a Reverend and has been the Principal of St Andrew’s for more that 15 years. He also represents and advocates for Independent schools across Australia as the National Chair of AHISA (Association of Heads of Independent Schools, Australia).

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