The Last Word

By Eddie Grant | Posted: Thursday July 28, 2016

Welcome to Term 3 and the business end of the year. Most of you will have finished the majority of your internals and are studying for the practice exams, which start in 31 school days. This means that you have gained around 50 credits. Which is good. But it is even better if you have gained knowledge from these 20 weeks of work, and not just credits.

There’s a common quote, “knowledge is power”. That’s truer than you can ever imagine. Knowledge is what allows us to drive cars instead of ride horses and it is knowledge that prevents us from making the same mistakes we have made in the past.

School is about gaining knowledge and we are fortunate to have so many quality staff willing to pass knowledge to us. Some people can respond negatively to being forced to learn, but further down the line, this knowledge that you learnt in class will actually help you.

It sounds strange, but it’s possible that you can forget how to learn. When doing our internals at home, we try memorize rules, copy and paste, follow exemplars, look at a mates work, and then ensure that our work matches the assessment criteria. I have been guilty of all of this. And then too often, I’ll be sitting at home, staring at my laptop and the two thousand words I have just written for an internal. And I realize that I have gained no new knowledge. Those two thousand words make no sense to me, and I am just as knowledgeable as I was 2 hours ago. I know that I am not the only one who does this and perhaps many of you do it yourselves.

This is a problem. Yes, congratulations you have just earned 4 excellence credits in level 2 mathematics. But do you now have the knowledge of writing a statistical report? And next year in level 3 when you are offered 4 credits in level 3 statistics to do the same thing, are you going to remember how from the year before? Or will you need to start again from scratch?

So what should we do about this?

If you would rather finish an internal with new academic abilities, and not just a small handful of credits…here are some things you could try:

1. Desire – You won’t learn much, until you really want to learn. Probably most of you would like to be able to do what Sean can do and get up there and play the school song on piano every week. But only the people who have a true want to play music have gone and made it happen.

2. Practice – When you think of things that you are actually knowledgeable of, these are the things you really know how to do, things you have done over and over so that they become second nature. Most of us are fortunate enough to be able to walk and talk. But he could never have acquired this knowledge and continued to improve in speech and physical skills without practice. Often we quit on the first or second attempt if we’re not good at something straight away. But the man who is really going to be educated, who intends to know, is going to stay with it until it is done.

3. Ask questions – It is easy to know what, when, where and to who something has happened. For example we know that Mark Zuckerberg created Facebook, in Harvard University, 2004. This is nice information, but it doesn’t really mean anything until we find out how and why these things have happened. So when studying, try dig deeper than you usually would, and find out how and why it is all happening.

4. And finally, read, write, listen and observe.

When I get given my next internal, I’m not just going to do what ever I can to gain the top mark possible. I will have a desire, a true want to learn whatever is to be learnt. I will ask questions, found out how and why, I will then practice for as long as need be. And at the end I will hopefully come out with a handful of excellence credits and a life long skill.

I hope you all do the same.

I’ll finish with a quote I found on a website:

"If you don’t desire to learn, you’re either a numb-scull or a know it all, and the real world wants nothing to do with either of them."