Friday, January 19, 2007

Teenage growth creates uniform market

This column appeared today in the Redland Times, Cleveland, Redland Shire, Queensland, Australia.
THE rapid growth rates of high school students has reflected during the countdown to a new school year, with lots of uniforms and sports gear on sale in the Classifieds.
Carmel College has featured most but this does not mean its teenagers grow faster than those at other schools.
Nevertheless, the rates and types of adolescent development are certainly a focus for the college’s new principal.
Bernice McLellan, who has worked in Catholic education for a quarter of a century, comes to Carmel after nine years as principal of San Sisto College, Carina.
Mrs McLellan had a brief holiday in Tasmania, where she and husband Robert sat at the famous Constitution Dock at sunset for a memorable feed of Bruny Island oysters.
Then it was straight to work, setting up her office, getting to know the college culture and community, and generally preparing for the big day, January 30, when about 750 students will take their places.
She rates the induction of the Year 8s among her first major assignments.
"San Sisto is for girls only, so I am looking forward to returning to co-education," she said. "It is good to get a handle on teaching boys again, especially in light of the discussion of their educational achievement."
Mrs McLellan has been focusing on research into boys’ education and has noted considerable improvement in their results in the most recent Queensland core skills tests.
Educational strategies appear to be working.
She said her challenges included keeping a balance between the specific needs of the female and male adolescents and ensuring the college did not neglect any group with special needs.
The mother of two girls and two boys – now aged from 22 to 27 – said her personal experience had helped her understand the different development rates of learning.
She also had the benefit of much research, especially since the 1990s when key Australian educational figures raised the alarm over the failure of boys to achieve academically.
Carmel College opened at Thornlands in 1993. It draws its name from Our Lady of Mount Carmel and looks to the traditions of the Carmelites for spiritual leadership.
The McLellans still live at Carindale but have been inspecting Redlands properties in preparation for a move.

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