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It's Bloomin' Hard to Analyse

The ‘footie season’ is steadily winding its way to the finals. Which teams will make it to the AFL final or the NRL final, both set down for September? The Broncos are in a promising position for the latter while there is some commentary that the Western Bulldogs may produce another miracle in the AFL. Either way, the business end of the season is now at hand as results become more significant in the jostle for the final positions.

The ‘footie’ commentators know this implicitly and those worth reading or listening to have mastered the art of describing incidents, analysing important passages of play, and then evaluating whether teams have the necessary skills and combinations to carry them through to the ‘flag’ or the shield. The key words here are describing, analysing and evaluating.

In secondary schools around Australia, Term 3 is more important than Term 4; HSC in NSW, VCE in Victoria, and QCS in Queensland followed by major assessments. Each of these are either at the end of Term 3 or right at the start of Term 4. The necessary skills to succeed in these assessments are parallel to the ‘footie’ commentators describing, analysing and evaluating. Bloom’s Taxonomy is very helpful here. You can see in the video below, the important definitions for each area and the relative level of difficulty. Analyse and Evaluate are at 3rd and 2nd in difficulty respectively and are the two that our boys need to recognise and manage well for their assessments.

Analyse the importance of the endocrine system in the human body’ is a challenging task that fits perfectly with all our Year 9 students this term. Our students would need to show the links between several areas of the human system that are affected by the endocrine system and perhaps connect in wider understanding, such as negative feedback loops. Our students can do this level of thinking if they have the determination to succeed and can apply the definitions to their answers. i.e. ‘Analyse = Draw connections among ideas.’

Year 9 Rugby team.

By way of comparison, about six weeks ago, our Year 9 Rugby team with only 12 players had an amazing, comprehensive win against Padua College, with the full complement of 15 players. At half time with the scores closely locked, our players listened to their coach, Dave Capra, and they clearly linked the strategy of how best to play the game with the opposition’s strengths and weaknesses. They did not play in a random haphazard way. So the analysis and evaluation was in evidence along with 12 very brave ATC warriors.

In another competitive forum, our Year 9.1 Debating team are still in the knockout rounds of the QDU finals. Their success does not depend so much on their voices but more on their analysis and evaluation of their arguments compared to their opposition’s ideas. The adjudicators do not just want to hear nice speeches. In fact, if a debater does make a nice speech but with weak arguments, it is the task of the winning team to expose these weaknesses.

Year 9 Debating team in Toowoomba.

Not all our boys can play heroic rugby matches nor debate at a serious level but, in the classroom, it is the task of our students with the help of the teacher, to be aware of and skilful at the tasks of analysis and evaluation. Our students’ future academic success stories depend on it.

Greg Quinn, Assistant Dean of Learning