The Thistle - An E-Newsletter of Scotch College, Perth, Western Australia

Head of Middle School

It was a short week for our first week back but nonetheless, long enough for students to meet all their teachers and begin to understand the expectations on them in their new year level.  One of the expectations I have of boys in Middle School is that they spend the time doing the basics well.  That is, attending to, or grooving the simple foundational skills we need so that they become habits.  Like the tip of an iceberg poking out of the water, rarely do we in Middle School see the bulk, or the end result of the habit forming we place so much emphasis on.  Habits around time keeping, organisation, prioritising, referencing, reading, researching, questioning, being critical, being courteous, and being supportive to name a few.  These types of habits form the bedrock that boys in Senior School need to have to launch from as they acquire and synthesise new knowledge and to then evaluate, create and apply new possibilities.  The bedrock, the habits we work hard on now, so well described in the Approaches to Learning, become the character, the full iceberg so to speak, of the boy we see departing after Year 12.

Two habits I put particular emphasis on at our Day 1 Middle School meeting were:

  • Good posture:
  • Bringing others along with you

Both of these habits are actions that require continual attention.  Both if developed well will have enormous positive benefit for the rest of our boys' lives.  From a posture perspective the incorporation of mobile and hand-held technologies into our lives can be counterproductive to good posture.  Awareness of and attention to the effect of these devices is critical during the rapid physical growth phase Middle School boys are in.  Is it possible to incorporate devices into our lives and still have good posture?  It is, but it requires conscious and continual effort until good posture becomes the habit.


Thinking about the welfare of others is a habit that can be developed too.  Target setting, being goal focussed, these are important sub skills and most frequently considered in individual contexts.  However, when school, work and life get complex and difficult it is the strength of the network we have built, inspired and cared for that supports us in achieving the things that really matter when the time comes.  When our boys walk out of Scotch after Year 12 with their VET, WACE or IB score, I would like to think they also walk out with a bank of really good habits that we emphasised in Middle School, this includes really good posture and the ability to care about others.