From the Principal

This week we have a special guest introduction from Adam Kenny, Head of Boys’ Junior School and Boys’ Education, and Director of Students.

“Boys will be boys” is a prescriptive form of masculinity that is limiting to boys who may not be the little brutes our society says they should be. It shames boys who are sensitive, boys who don’t like getting dirty or wrecking things, and boys who don’t perform their gender in any other way society dictates they should.” So says Joanne Schroeder writing for The Good Men Project.

It is a phrase that I detest as it can often be used as an excuse for lower standards of behaviour, care, tidiness and general respect for others and lumps all boys as the ‘same’.

Dr Michael Gurian is renowned for promoting learning that reflects the gender differences in the brain which he states are corroborated in males and females throughout the world. I would encourage you to take the time to read his article, shared below, outlining these differences.

With Boys and Girls in Mind

Our unique Parallel Model affords us the opportunity to work with and for our students in a manner that recognises gender differences, and differences within the genders, while also acknowledging the different stages of age, social and emotional development.

Next week our Year 9 girls and boys will head to Camp Howqua for their Winter Camp. All students will participate in the same activities including white water rafting, snow skiing, mountain Bike Riding and a special Commando Course. Completing these activities in gender groups allows girls and boys to generally exhibit more controlled ‘risk-taking’ behaviour without the concern about what ‘the other gender’ may think. Yet with so many of Year 9 students having developed friendships among both genders, the ‘down time’ at camp, meals and social time, sees the girls and boys mixing freely and comfortably, another ideal ‘transitional’ opportunity before they join together next year in our Senior College.

The mornings of Tuesday 21 and Friday 24 August will be very special ones for us all as we celebrate the unique journeys of our Tintern Grammar boys and girls in our annual Prep-Year 12 Boys’ and Prep-Year 12 Girls’ assemblies respectively. The themes for the Assemblies, “…Many Voices One”, and “Come Tinternites…”, taken from our School songs, reflect the unity and togetherness that is special amongst our students. At these Assemblies, we will share in the stories of current and past students, enjoy musical items and photo presentations that reflect all of our year levels and join together to sing our School songs. There is a special bond amongst our Girls and Boys, within and across year levels. I warmly welcome parents and friends to join with us at the Assemblies, commencing at 8.40am in the CM Wood Centre.

Most significantly, Friday 31 August will see our Junior School girls and boys join together with their ‘dads’ or another significant adult male in their lives, at our annual Father’s Day Breakfast. This special event will, for the first time, see brothers and sisters sharing hands-on activities with their special adult male guest. That afternoon, all of our Secondary students will participate in our annual House Cross Country event. After year level events, all Year 7-12 girls and boys will be slipping on ‘women’s footwear’ as we then support Harcourts “Walk A Mile In Their Shoes’ event, raising awareness and understanding of Violence against Women’. As Year 12 student Jimmy Cox said in Assembly on Friday, All of us that are boys and men in this room, can especially be an example to other men, and can show our female friends, our sisters, and teachers, our mums and aunties and every female we know, that we believe that we can and will change the attitude of Men who consider sexist comments and actions, violence and harassment towards women to be acceptable.”

In our Boys’ Junior School this term we use “Fish In A Tree”, a reference to an Einstein misquote Everybody is a Genius. But If You Judge a Fish by Its Ability to Climb a Tree, It Will Live Its Whole Life Believing that It is Stupid”

There are similarities with our parallel model; if girls and boys are in learning environments that don’t recognize their unique differences, then we are setting them up for failure and disengagement at school.

At Tintern Grammar, it’s not “Boys Will be Boys”. It may not be as catchy but IS true, to say “our Girls and Boys will express their personalities in a way that are true to themselves”.

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