From the Principal

How to Pick a Winner

We have a winner

We all want our children to be successful, to be “winners”.

At SCAS we try to provide the opportunities for students to develop the skills, habits and attitudes that will make it possible for our students to be “winners”.

It would be simple if it was simply about identifying those students with specific academic talents and pointing them in the right direction, but….

Talent alone is not enough for success. Don’t waste your time feeling inadequate because someone else is a “natural” at something when you’re not. Many people who are “talented” run into trouble when they reach the outer limits of natural ability. Having been praised for their innate abilities and gone through life believing their success came naturally, these people hit the wall of hard work and don’t know what to do. They may question their “naturally gifted” status, and begin to feel inferior. It can be a difficult lesson to learn, that talent has a limit and often ends where tenacious practice and effort begins. Talent Is a Myth, Amol Sarva

So, if identifying natural talent is not enough, how can we, how can universities, how do potential employers “pick a winner”?

Today Higher School Certificate marks and ATARs seem to be less valued than in the past as universities and many large companies use alternative means to recruit their future stars.

“The Google study used tens of thousands of its own employee recruitment records to discover that neither recruiter recommendation nor qualifications were good indicators of employee performance.” Google’s Hiring Process, Forbes Magazine, 2014.

At SCAS our focus in formal lessons and co-curricular activities is not simply to impart knowledge that can be regurgitated in a test, but to offer opportunities for our students to access knowledge, assess knowledge and use knowledge.

We also make use of opportunities to develop our students capacities that are recognised and valued by future employers – leadership, grit, honesty, resilience and ability to adapt.

We are avid in our scrutiny of the evolving workforce and the skills and attitudes that make today’s and tomorrow’s students successful in the “real world”. Recent research has shown a pattern of skills and attitudes that employers recognise as valuable in selecting employees.

Some of them may surprise you, as examination marks and even qualifications seem to be missing from the top of the list!

Here are some of the top picks by employers:

1. Ability to read: Having the ability to read an essay or book and understand it well enough to use the information in some practical way or to talk about it with another person. Can you apply what you’ve learned? Do you know how to share it with others?

Dr Seuss

2. Inquiry: The ability to either solve a problem that exists or convince people that they have a problem so you can sell them the solution.

3. Flexible thinking and the use of evidence: Can you look at your decisions from all sides? Are you looking at evidence or are you rejecting anything that doesn’t back up your predetermined conclusion? And when you find new evidence, are you able to change your course of action?


4. Conversation: Being able to converse with a variety of people in a variety of modes. Not just gossip but real conversations. Having rich conversations about a variety of subjects expands your mind?

Cartoon5. Collaboration: While the idea of the lone genius is interesting enough, most companies will need you to work in a collaborative mode.

Best idea6. Engagement: Can you “immerse” yourself in work? Is there something you are doing that continues to excite you? Bosses know that their company’s success is dependent on the engagement of their employees.

Employee engagementPlease don’t think this means SCAS is going to abandon examinations – we won’t. What it does mean is that the types of teaching, assignments, tests and projects we use will be more than old style “cut and paste” but will be designed to foster the skills and abilities that will really make a difference for our students in the future.

SCAS aims to build winners and what evidence shows us is that, no matter what your definition of winning is, it is all about attitude, practice and never settling for just OK.

“Winning is not a sometime thing; it’s an all time thing. You don’t win once in a while, you don’t do things right once in a while, you do them right all the time. Winning is habit. Unfortunately, so is losing.” V. Lombardi

Mr Terry Muldoon
Principal, St Columba Anglican School
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