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Success - the Product of Intention

Parents and students often ask me what the key is to academic success. While there is no magic panacea, it is fair enough to say that success doesn’t just happen. Typically, it is the product of intention. At Ambrose Treacy College we are highly intentional in our ways of working with students.

In 2017, we have demonstrated this commitment to ‘intentionality’ in myriad ways. Already this year we have delivered:
1. A learning orientation program for Year 7 students, to better support their transition to high school
2. Academic goal setting and strategy planning, in homeroom, formation and classroom work
3. Progress tracking discussions with homeroom teachers in the Middle School
4. A study skills program for Year 10s and 9s
5. The release of assessment calendars for all year levels so that students can begin working backwards from the due date, to get organised early.

One of our key intentions this year, is to improve student literacy, in particular, student writing. Students who can express their understanding in writing, tend to improve their academic outcomes. Over the last six months, members of the College Literacy Committee have been researching best practice teaching strategies for boys. This project has involved two key phases. Firstly, improving our understanding about the specific strengths and weaknesses of our boys’ writing. Secondly, finding a best next step intervention program, to address areas of challenge. The project has indeed been an illuminating one. While our boys’ writing is mostly strong in terms of output, legibility and absence of text speak, areas for challenge include enhancing fluency, precision and diminishing incomplete sentences.
As with all things in education, there is no one simple solution. However, over the next year, teachers at the College will be using a range of pedagogical approaches to assist boys. Some of these, which we will write more about in upcoming blogs, include:

1. Introducing boys to the 15 sentence styles
2. Introducing boys to different paragraph styles
3. On-demand, continuous writing
4. Writing for understanding
5. Writing beta rather than alpha sentences
6. Philosophical and higher order thinking to improve writing
7. Modelling of editing and polishing
8. Collaborative construction of success criteria

We are looking forward to the challenge of partnering with your sons to improve their capacity in this most important endeavour.

Kath Little, Dean of Learning
littlek@atc.qld.edu.au