If you have any questions for our Headmaster, Mr Paul Browning, please submit them using the form below.
25 March 2013
I was in a taxi last week. I got chatting with the driver. He asked me to guess where he came from. I was a little unsure. He told me that his mother came from Kuwait and his father from India. He has been in Australia for five years.
He told me that he wasn’t married but was planning to get married in March next year. However, he didn’t know who to; he was leaving that to his parents to decide; it was to be an arranged marriage. This led us to speculate about the cultural differences between India and Australia. Interestingly, fewer arranged marriages end in divorce than marriages in Australia. Why is that?
He made what I thought to be a profound observation on our society. He said that Australians are so consumed with teaching our children to be independent whereas in India they teach their children to live for each other. Perhaps the whole concept of independence has created greater selfishness, so much so that we forget that a higher sense of self-worth is realised when we serve others. Family and community mean so much more in India.
What is the message of Easter; well there are many. But one key message and result of Calvary is that Christ died so we might no longer continue living for ourselves, independent of God, but we can live dependent on Him. When we do, a higher sense of self-worth is realised.
18 April 2012
Listening to others
Each term we have had a theme linked to the 16 habits of highly effective learners. This term is no exception - good learners listen with understanding and empathy. Highly effective people spend an inordinate amount of time simply listening (Covey, 1989). And this is not just listening as in waiting for a turn to speak and then putting across your own point of view, but listening to really hear and understand what the other person is thinking and feeling. Senge (1994) suggests that to truly listen is to pay close attention to what is being said behind the words - you listen not only to the “music”, but also to the essence of the person speaking.
Good learners, and indeed the people we tend to naturally gravitate to, are those who have learnt the art of good listening. They seek to understand who we are and what we are feeling. They are attentive to us, seeking not to give advice, but to hear where we are at. This term is a time to encourage students to spend time listening, to ask clarifying questions and to paraphrase back to the speaker what they think they have heard. Listen for understanding and empathy.
“Listening is the beginning of understanding… Wisdom is the reward for a lifetime of listening. Let the wise listen and add to their learning and let the discerning get guidance” Proverbs 1:5
30 March 2012
30 March 2012
Easter is a message of relationships restored
Prior to Christ, no-one could enter the presence of God. The centre of worship for the Israelite people was the temple. At the temple’s heart was a place known as the Holy of Holies. No-one except the High Priest could enter that space; the rest of the people were cut off by a great curtain.
Mark, in his gospel, recounts the death of Jesus in chapter 15 verse 37 and 38, “With a loud cry, Jesus breathed his last. The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.”
A while ago, a good friend of mine did something deeply hurtful to me, something terribly wrong. It broke my relationship with him. Why was it that I could no longer be in a good relationship with him? Was it because I was waiting for justice to be done, for a consequence to be handed down for his actions so I would be satisfied that he had paid the price? Or was it because I was holding onto the deep hurt and resentment that I felt that prevented me from approaching him, and indeed him knowing that I was harbouring such anger?
Forgiveness is such a strange and misunderstood concept. Many people believe that forgiveness is about the other person no longer having to face the consequences for their actions – that we let them off the hook when we forgive them. The truth is that forgiveness is about the person hurt, or wronged, letting go of all those ill feelings and not allowing them to consume them anymore; allowing them to restore a broken relationship. But how hard is that to do? Incredibly hard, and the deeper the hurt the harder it is to forgive.
God has so much to resent in us. We have constantly turned our backs on Him and chosen to live life our own way. How can He let all that go for all of humanity and then allow us to enter His presence, the Holy of Holies? He did. He forgave us and has let all that ill feeling go so we know that we can be in a right relationship with Him. Does this mean that there was no justice, no consequence? Of course not, but God’s amazing grace was offered in the sacrifice of His Son - he paid the price. At that exact moment the great curtain in the temple was torn in two allowing everyone to enter the Holy of Holies.
During this Easter period, is there someone who you are not in a right relationship with because of the hurt that you are carrying?
13 February 2012
What are your aspirations for your children?
As a parent of two children, my wife and I have certain aspirations for our children. These aspirations play a significant part in the decisions we make on their behalf, including which School they should go to.
Last Friday night we held our New Families Welcome. Over 250 people came along; new parents and families as well as existing families, staff and students. It was a wonderful community event. I met with many of those new parents, asking what their aspirations were for their children in sending them to St Paul’s School.
Some of the responses included:
• “to be the very best person they can be”
• “to grow into a fine young man”
• “to enjoy it, to love it, to embrace all the opportunities that the School has to offer”
• “to be an all-round person”
• “to reach his/her potential”
St Paul’s School offers a holistic education, focusing on every student’s social, emotional, physical, spiritual and academic development. Certainly the parents who attended the night were excited by what the School has to offer and what it values. Their aspirations for their children helped determine where they ultimately decided to send their children.
As for the aspirations my wife and I have for our children, they are not dissimilar to what was mentioned above. That is why they go to St Paul’s School.
9 February 2012
9 February 2012
ABC has been running some great shows on education over the last month. One of those was titled “Revolution in the Classroom” on Four Corners. The show gave compelling evidence that quality student outcomes are inherently linked to quality teaching; and quality teaching includes the quality of professional relationships that teachers build with the students, ie. pastoral care.
While the evidence presented in the show is not new, it did provide wonderful encouragement for what we have been focusing on under our Strategic Plan and our vision to be leaders in educational thinking and practice.
Our focus has been on supporting our staff to be the very best teachers they can be through:
11 November 2011
Why do people run red lights?
I see at least one person everyday who runs a red light. Are they so busy that they are willing to jeopardise their own life and the lives of others? Has life become so out of control that they cannot wait for just a few more moments to reach their destination?
A number of years ago, my family and I moved to New Zealand for a three month sabbatical. We lived in Wellington, in a suburb called Karori. Our children went to school in the centre of the town at St Mark’s Anglican School. The drive from our home to the school was a 20minute one, down a narrow, windy road which was always clogged with slow moving traffic.
For our first few days driving the kids to school we found it incredibly frustrating; cars in front of us would let other traffic from side streets into the long queue that wound its way down the mountain. Each time this happened we felt somewhat incensed; this gesture would surely make us later than we needed to be. However, what we soon found was that it didn’t matter; it didn’t actually add any time to our trip at all. In fact, after a week we decided to change our behaviour and let waiting cars into the queue as well. Still, this did not add any time to our trip but brought much joy to our drive.
Life has got out of control if we have to speed and run red lights.