Deputy Principal - Teaching & Learning

It has been a big term and we would like to commend all of our students for their efforts. The break at the end of Term 3 is a great time for students to reflect on their progress and set some goals for their learning as they prepare for their final term of 2017.

At our recent Feast Day Mass, Archbishop Dennis Hart spoke about the “I can” mentality as opposed to the “I can’t” and encouraged our young people to shift their outlook and always maintain that positive approach.

At Salesian College Sunbury we have been working on a positive mindset approach and this is the reason why all faculties have turned curriculum progression points into “I can …” statements, so that students can easily identify what they have achieved and can see the next steps in their learning.

We encourage all of our students to return in Term 4 with an “I can” outlook, ready to tackle their final term for 2017 with positivity, maximum effort and personal best.

Over the holidays, we have students representing our school at the Melbourne Show, a Kakadu trip, holiday classes run by our dedicated staff and Year 12 practice exams. We wish all our students well as great learning continues to occur outside of the classroom.

Year 12s
This break presents you all with some much needed time. Time to catch up, time to study and relearn material and time to prepare for your upcoming exams. The best way to prepare for your exams is to complete as many practice exams as you can under exam conditions and then correct them.

You can access past exams and examiners reports on the VCAA website. Make the most of Edrolo for both revising content and testing your knowledge, including completing the range of practice questions available.

All students are expected to attend the practice exams taking place over the holiday period. These are vital for getting the experience of sitting Year 12 exams, and for receiving the feedback that will shape your revision program in Term 4. Your teachers will also get valuable feedback for how to best target their revision plans for your needs.

Unfortunately many students spend too much time reading information (and not doing much else with it) or studying what they already know. Sure, this makes us feel good and is not too challenging, but is it the best way to learn the material and ensure you know it?

Making the information more meaningful and elaborating on it, or linking it to what you already know, tends to be the best way to remember it. We do of course need to read over information, but we should do something with the information we are reading. It might be a mind-map, to show how it all links together, study cards, notes or other visual representations.

The most important thing when studying is to test yourself, if you know it now, chances are you will know it in four weeks. You need to make a start by going over concepts that you don’t understand and using strategies to find out. Your student diary has many study tips.

A great way to prepare over the holidays is to attend a VCE revision lecture. There are many companies and organisations that are well-established and reputable – these include Access Education, TSFX, TSSM, NEAP and Victoria University, amongst others. They provide useful resources and a structured program, as well as an opportunity to mix and share ideas with students from a range of other schools. Just make sure you don’t book a session during the practice exam period as the practice exams must take precedence.

Parents of current Year 12 Students
This time of year is very challenging, hang in there, you are almost there. The following website is a fantastic resource to provide you with tips to best support your child as they study and prepare for their upcoming exams:

A conversation about what your child needs from you at this time to best support them in preparation would also be worthwhile.

At Salesian College Sunbury ALL students are expected to complete trial VCE exams in the holiday period. Please support us in this process and encourage them to best prepare for the trial exams. These exams are imperative and give students a great indication of how they are going as they prepare to enter their examination period. The feedback they will receive from their teachers at this time is also crucial so encourage them to bring their exams home and share their progress with you.

As well as studying, please ensure they have the right equipment. Generally, they need to have a clear plastic bag with 2 x grey lead pencils, 3 x blue/black pens, an eraser, sharpener and a calculator (for the exams that require it). They must not take mobile phones, electronic watches or other electronic devices into the examination room, so it is best to leave these things at home or drop them in the tubs provided on the day of the exam.


Here are some tips from us …

Where to study

  • Set up a place at home that you are comfortable in and is as quiet as possible.
  • A desk in your room or study is ideal. You should be sitting at a desk not lying on the floor or your bed.
  • Notes and books may need to be left out so having your own desk is better than using the dining table.
  • Music works for some people but not all. The best study areas are similar to examination rooms, so quiet if possible.
  • Sometimes it might be appropriate to study with others in a group and collaborate. If doing this, you must be able to manage your distractions and stay on task. As a responsible learner, you should know when it is appropriate to work with others (interdependence) and when you need to work by yourself.

How to study

  • Study consistently throughout the entire year. Don’t wait until the week before your test or exam!
  • Read over your notes and textbooks, but don’t just read, you should make notes or draw diagrams as you go.
  • Don’t waste time revising the information you already know. It makes us feel confident but it wastes valuable time. Start by writing out what you already know. If you know it now you will know it in a week!
  • Use mind-maps and visuals to help aid your memory and make links between key concepts and ideas.
  • Using colours helps the brain remember so do rhymes, acronyms (like ANZAC) and acrostics (like ‘Every good boy deserves fruit’)
  • The most important thing when studying is to test yourself or get somebody to test you. Sometimes you think you understand the content but if you can’t explain it clearly to someone else then you need to do more study. This is when studying with others can be beneficial.

Study planner

  • Create a study / homework plan that you stick to
  • When developing this ensure you put in all of your regular commitments, like sport, dance, part-time work, gym etc.
  • This plan should be balanced, achievable and something that you discuss with your parents/guardians.

Daniel Buttacavoli & Jodie FitzGerald
Deputy Principal Teaching and Learning