Principal's Message

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Watching the sun set over a calm ocean, listening to a piece of choice music while driving through the forests of Yallingup, or reading a well-written verse of poetry sitting in the gardens of King’s Park are all experiences that leave one in awe. Awe can be defined as a feeling of reverential respect mixed with wonder and includes the notion of being inspired. When people experience this sense of awe and are inspired, they get curious. And it is curiosity that is a fundamental building block to learning. 

Curiosity is an important condition for learning and plays a significant role in learner engagement. People are better at learning information they are curious about, as curiosity prepares the brain for learning and makes subsequent learning more enjoyable and rewarding.[1] 

In our world of effortless access to Uber eats, AI bots, social media, and the internet highway our young people run the risk of missing opportunities to be awe “stuck” or curious. This in turn can make learning more difficult. Thus, the culture and environment of learning are central themes to our teachers' professional learning this year. 

At the recent pupil-free day held on the 3 March, our staff were engaged in several sessions of professional learning. In one of the sessions, we were privileged to hear from Dr Kevin Knight, the CEO of the Graduate School of Education New Zealand, who presented a learning model for classroom engagement and school improvement which focuses on “learning caused”. Dr Knight showed how the relationship between students and teachers is enhanced when there are targeted conversations about learning. Dr Knight states:   

“Teachers need to cause learning, it’s the centre of their job. Society has given teachers a raft of additional social work functions, but the prime purpose of teaching is to cause learning and learning includes acquiring knowledge”[2] 

At SCC, awe and wonder forms one of our Living Well themes. In our Christian Living classes, we are reminded that “the whole earth is filled with awe at your [God] wonders: where morning dawns, where evening fades, you [God] call forth songs of joy”.[3] We realise the influence of leading and guiding students to awe and wonder and seek now to capture this in every subject classroom as we strive to cause our students to learn. 

We believe that our students will benefit as we intentionally use this classroom approach of learning conversations and causing students to learn. We hope to see students engaged, curious and inspired in a learning relationship with their teachers to become lifelong learners, to RISE, shine and flourish. Ultimately for students to be in awe of their learning environment. Now, that truly would be a wonder!


Dr Darnelle Pretorius

[2] 8People, Kevin Knight, Conference March 2023.

[3] Psalm: 65:8


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