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Secondary School Newsletter - 20 November

Updated: Dec 4, 2020

The Pomodoro Technique

pomodoro technique

On average, each Secondary School student spends approximately 39 weeks per year at school; about 7 hours per day during a 5-day week. This equates to only 16% of their time at school. Students spend 55% of their time in the care of their parents, with friends or on their own; well over triple the amount of time spent at school. The rest of the time is spent sleeping.

Seven hours per day is a short time to gain the breadth of learning required for success, especially in the IGCSE, AS and A Levels. As students’ progress through their secondary years, they need to invest an increasing amount of their own time – in the evenings, during the weekend, and during holidays in their study. This extra time should be devoted to practice, to prepare, to create, and to extend.

Therefore, secondary students take on an increasingly greater responsibility, with the assistance of parents, for being self-directed learners and managers of their own time. These are skills are essential for sustained academic success.

However, for many students, time is an enemy. They race against the clock to finish assignments and meet deadlines. This puts immense pressure and stress on students and their families and a lack of time management can have a devastating effect on their learning.

Pomodoro Technique

This month we have been looking at time management in our Year 9 – 11 Positive Education class and in particular, the Pomodoro Technique. This technique teaches students to work with time, instead of struggling against it. A revolutionary time management system, it is at once deceptively simple to learn and life-changing to use.

Here is how it works:

The Year 7 – 9 students have been exploring Mindsets

Carol Dweck

Carol Dweck defines two types of Mindsets: Fixed and Growth.

Fixed mindset has you believe qualities like intelligence and talent are fixed quantities that you’re born with, and there’s nothing much you can do to change them. The fixed mindset brings with it a host of negative flow-on effects on learning. On the other hand, a growth mindset, which we often see associated with successful people, encompasses the belief that you can learn to be more intelligent, improve your abilities, and develop talents.

If you believe abilities, talents, intelligence and qualities like these are inborn and fixed, then you are likely to see successful people as inherently different from you. You couldn’t be like them because they have something you don’t. You perceive an unreachable gap between you and them. And why would you try to be like them if you know you don’t have “it”? Effort is futile in this situation.

Fortunately, studies of the acquisition of excellence and high achievers in many fields have shown that success is in fact not the result of gifts or inborn talents. Everybody fails. It is how we respond that matters. With a growth mindset, we have the confidence to learn, the desire to improve through hard work and effort.

The book, Peak by Anders Ericsson, is a wonderful study of genius. He believes that the human brain and body are incredibly adaptable and that if we continue to challenge both we can grow both. He agrees that innate talent is a myth. He says that exceptional individuals are just like any of us - they have the ability to develop their brains and bodies through effort. He writes about sports stars, mathematicians, musical prodigies, and the like and uses scientific evidence to prove his theories. He believes that you can master anything after 10,000 hours of practice.

High achievers aren’t born - they are made. They have a belief in their own ability to improve (a Growth Mindset) and go about working in a way that achieves that improvement. Unlike people with a Fixed Mindset who see effort as a bad thing, high achievers see effort as a way to grow.

In order to build their abilities successful people, put effort into things they can’t currently do – rather than rehearsing the things they can. They work in that sweet spot on the edge of their competence. This sort of practice is referred to as deliberate or purposeful practice.

People with a fixed mindset fear the sweet spot. It is a place that could show up the limits of their ability. It requires risk-taking and the prospect of failure. But it’s only through working on the edge of their competence, on the things we can’t currently do, that we can hope to grow.

Movie Review: The Witches.

The Year 7 English students attended the movies last Friday as they are learning how to write a review. Here is Ben Moles’ review of Roald Dahl’s “The Witches”.

The Year 7 English students attended the movies last Friday as they are learning how to write a review. Here is Ben Moles’ review of Roald Dahl’s “The Witches”.
Year 7 English students

“The Witches” is a combination of a horror/mystery and a humorous fantasy. This movie was novel-inspired by Roald Dahl and is an improvement of the 1990’s film of the same name. The 2020 “The Witches” was directed by Robert Zemeckis. The three main actors are, Anne Hathaway as the Grand High Witch, Octavia Spencer as Grandma and Jahzir Bruno as Charlie. This movie exceeded my expectations as I thought it was going to be your typical halloween witches chasing children story.

This film was set in the 1960’s America. After the tragic death of Charlie’s parents, we follow him through the horror mystery feel of meeting witches. The plot will surprise you in many ways, so I won’t give away some of the important or fantastic scenes in this movie. The movie starts sort of slow and has a minimum amount of suspense. But all things change when Charlie and Grandma go shopping. This film sort of gives the message of “what you think isn’t real could be” as in “if you think something is or isn’t real, you could be wrong.” A lot of scenes surprise you in the fantastic acting in the film.

Anne Hathaway delivers a spectacular performance as the Grand High Witch. She gives the role a lot of heart and she really makes you believe she is the Grand High Witch. Octavia Spencer also gives an exceptional performance as Charlie’s Grandma. Jahzir Bruno gives you the same remarkable performance as Charlie. During the film there are both child moments and mature moments, which gives the characters life.

The cinematography is really good. Some of the amazing effects are the Grand High Witch’s arms and all transformations from humans to things. All of the edits are fascinating and it makes the movie a lot more witch themed.

I would certainly recommend this movie to anybody over 9. Also, if you like reading Roald Dahl’s books, you should certainly watch this. Kids younger than 9 might find “The Witches” scary, but if you’re brave go for it. This movie is something you don’t want to miss and it worth seeing. 4 and a half stars.

Written by Ben Moles – 7 Kakadus

Design and Technology Projects (Product Design)

Year 9 and 10 students were asked to design and build a handheld model racing car using metal.  They undertook this project to develop their problem-solving skills from concept to completion as well as the ability to critically apprise the entire design process. The project is useful because it prepares students for similar design-based tasks in the IGCSE examination and allowed students to gain experience with unfamiliar materials school magazines and processes. 

The project was inspired and influenced by similar projects undertaken by university aged students in the following.

Overall, our students achieved all the learning outcomes for this task and the final product delivered compares very favourably with those of older students shown in the video.  

Written by Daniel Lenihan – Design Technology teacher

Electron Microscope: The Future of Microscopy

What’s the tiniest thing you’ve ever seen? A pinhead, a thread of hair, or a speck of dust? If you swapped your eyes for the world’s most powerful electron microscope, you would be able to see things 100 million times smaller: viruses, bacteria, molecules... even atoms in crystals would be visible! Standard light-based microscopes, like the ones in a school lab, aren’t powerful enough to show things in such detail. It takes a significantly more powerful electron microscope, using beams of electrons instead of rays of light, to take us down to nano-dimension. The incredible detail these microscopes provide has led to advances in the fields of medicine and forensics.

In this current global pandemic, many scientists are turning their attention to study the COVID-19 virus. Luckily, the electron microscope has come to the rescue, aiding scientists to observe the 3D protein structure of the virus. This will facilitate the design and development of a vaccine. This is one of the many breakthroughs to which electron microscopy is contributing. Thanks to the electron microscope, we will be enabled to make more biological discoveries. Advances in electron microscopy, whether through its ultrafast processes, better atomic resolution or stronger magnification at nanoscales, will set the stage for new science. 

Such developments will result in transformative scientific advances that will allow us to better address our needs as a species.

Written by Benito Bilal - AS Level Biology student

Graphic Design Excursions

Over the past few weeks, I have been going to different places that have some sort of passion for graphic design. These places were Solar Land (an exhibit at the Thailand Creative and Design Centre), Conscious Design and Twodoors Studio. I went because I wanted to see the world of graphic designers.

What I learned from Solar Land was how the Sun helps our daily lives with solar energy and the new technologies that include solar energy. I also learned from Wee Viraporn at Conscious that once you start to learn visual communication, you can call yourself a graphic designer. Two doors taught me how to take a product, make a logo and rebrand it. 

One highlight for me was at Solar Land where I saw all of the cool technology that could be powered by the Sun. What I’ve learned from these excursions is the world of graphic design and how it can be used in many different jobs. Graphic design has so many different uses such as branding, technology or even political movements. It leaves me the question - what job do I want to do in the graphic design community?

Written by Mitchell Lee – Year 9 Maria

The Creative Space

Colour Poems – Year 7 English

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