I hope that your family has adjusted to the routines of the new school year. It always feels busy when you adjust to new year levels, new expectations and, in the case of the Year 7s and Preps, a whole new school. Our prayer for the Mueller families is that any anxiety around new things will be engulfed by an optimism and excitement of new opportunities.
Teachers go through a similar process as we dive into a new year. As a stimulus for the new school year our staff participated in some professional development provided by a prominent neuroscientist Dr Jared Cooney-Horvath. One of the main goals of Mueller College is to provide an optimal learning environment for students. Learning more about how our brains are wired to learn and the ideal way to provide stimulus and momentum for students to grow was both enlightening and motivating.
Some insights that resonated with our staff were the power of schema or story in framing learning. Our learning is strongly formed by the truths and habits which are prominent in our lives. Our brains were once thought to be human computers that merely acted upon the input provided, however the latest research indicates our brains, in fact, perceive learning based on what we already believe to be true. It speaks to the power of our children believing positive messages about their self-worth and inherent value. This strongly resonates with our belief that “God doesn’t make junk” and “Every student matters every day”.
Further to this, our brains don’t learn best when under no stress at all. Too much stress is clearly a bad thing for us. However, the belief that no pressure or stress at all is good for our learning and development is false. Learning new things and persevering through challenge is the ideal stimulus for growth and development of our capabilities. New things in a new year can be daunting, but we can be reassured by the knowledge that we have been created for this and in a supportive environment such as Mueller an appropriate amount of challenge is the catalyst for flourishing.
I pray that 2024 is a wonderful year for you. One in which you see the growth of both the gifts God has given you and your experience of His grace and kindness to us.