Education Matters

Trinity News: rhythm of LEARNING

Posted by Deborah Williams on Mar 9, 2019 6:00:00 AM

Trinity News: Rhythm of learningBy Deborah Williams, Academic Dean

In Trinity news the recent Scholars’ Assembly formally acknowledged the most outstanding academic achievements of the 2018 Year 12 cohort across HSC and IB. It was a recognition not only of numerical results, awards and scholarships earned, but also of the deliberate commitment and effort of the students themselves, and those who joined with them in their learning, particularly parents, siblings and Trinity staff. One of the highlights of the assembly, for me, was listening to Dr De Lany interview two young men about their experience, and to what they attributed their success.

Both students spoke about the moment during Year 11 when ‘it clicked’: that what they were doing was important, that they wanted to succeed, and that they in fact already had the skills required to excel. From there, they developed quite different strategies to carve out study time, maximise efficiency, assess progress and reward themselves for goals achieved. The message was clear: back yourself and commit to personal excellence.

One spoke about the concept of ‘flow’, or getting deep into a learning focus for sustained periods of time. As a learning theory, Flow is an optimal psychological state that people experience when engaged in an activity that is appropriately challenging to one’s skill level. Flow reminds us that learning is a process rather than a single event, and that its ultimate outcomes are feelings of deep satisfaction as well as mastery of knowledge. The rhythm of learning often begins haltingly, frustratingly, disjointedly; but as we embrace the challenge of mastering the complex skills and knowledge, as well as the feelings this kind of experience generates, we develop the strategies to negotiate learning challenges and enjoy those times when it all comes together and we really ‘see’!

At this time of the academic year I see learning flow in many contexts. IB students are deeply immersed in the processes of Individual Assessments and Extended Essays; HSC boys are now well versed in the demands of juggling homework, assessment tasks, depth studies and ongoing consolidation of their learning; major projects and investigations are underway in Science, TAS and creative arts. Teaching staff, who have been working since the beginning of Term 4 in cross faculty teams to explore best practice in teaching and learning are gathering evidence for projects, sharing insights and evaluating learning designs. Summer Sport is reaching its zenith and Co-curricular opportunities are building momentum. School-wide initiatives around assessment and reporting reform are at the point of implementation.

Learning is a rhythm. Expert learners learn the rhythm and trust it. What begins tentatively at the beginning of a lesson is brought to clarity by the end; what begins as an impossibly wild task of preparing for a final school credential is tamed by the end; what begins in disjointed steps achieves flow if we give it time.

Scholars’ Assembly marks the close of the 2018 Year 12 cohort. Our attention now is firmly on the ways in which we support our students to increasingly embrace not only the rhythms of the learning process itself, and those of IB and HSC programmes, but to discover and fine tune their own.


Trinity provides an abundance of opportunities which nurtures boys to grow into men who are clear and passionate about their unique talents. We actively encourage our students to grow in wisdom and stature and in favour with God and man, in order that they may become responsible, contributing members of society.

We aim to help boys discover their innate talents and unlock their full potential within the context of a supportive Christian environment. We have guided boys to grow in mind, body and spirit for over a century and we know what boys need to truly flourish and succeed.

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Topics: Academic excellence, Improve learning, Boys learning, Study tips, Education, International Baccalaureate