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Light Dark Blue Podcast

ATAR Explained

This December, students throughout Queensland will breathe a sigh of relief as they receive their ATAR. For those embarking on their journey in year 11 or 12 in 2024, the adventure is only beginning.  

Understanding the ATAR system can be a formidable task for students and their parents. In this special edition podcast, BGS Deputy Headmaster of Teaching and Learning Mr. Steve Uscinski, offers a comprehensive explanation of ATAR, unravelling its complexities. He carefully details how the rank is calculated, achieved and utilised for tertiary education entry. 

Listen to the podcast here:

 

Becoming Better Learners Series

 

Light Dark Blue: The BGS Podcast is a window into how boys learn to thrive – intellectually, socially and emotionally – at Brisbane Grammar School.

The Becoming Better Learners Series discusses our progressive approach to teaching and learning. We discuss topics such as Effective Thinking Cultures, Applied Thinking and Consolidation Period – some of our most critical projects.

For many parents and carers, these concepts are foreign and far from what was on offer during their schooling years when academic success was measured by how well a student could recall information.

Our podcast is a great way to give parents and carers insight into what is happening in the classroom and provide them with tips on how to support their son’s learning, connecting both home and school life through healthy learning routines.

The podcast is also for anyone interested in the changing face of education, and how one of Australia’s most established schools is putting students in the driver’s seat of their learning journey. Listen as we hear from teachers, experts and, most importantly, BGS students.

Meet our host - Harry Clarke

Harry Clarke is an award-winning Journalist, BGS Old Boy and former boarder who graduated in 2007.

Harry has returned to BGS to host the first podcast series and brings a unique perspective as a former student. 

Formerly a News Corp and Nine Network journalist, Harry is now based in his hometown of Chinchilla and is the owner and editor of Country Caller, which is a multimedia news service advocating for rural and regional Queensland. 

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Becoming Better Learners - The Series

Ep: 10 Bringing it home

Our final episode of the season is for every parent or teacher who occasionally feel their efforts with teenage boys are falling on deaf ears. We hear from three senior students about their personal journeys at BGS and how they have changed as learners along the way. We ask what drives them to succeed, and how their teachers and parents and carers have helped them.

Summary of topics:

  • Adapting to BGS from different schools.
  • How collaboration and competition increase motivation.
  • Best experiences with teachers so far.

Ep 9: Shaping BGS as a learning organisation: ‘What would Peter say?’

We dive into the how and why BGS has become a “learning organisation” and what it all means for the boys. We talk to the Director of Organisational Learning, Hannah Campos Remon, who pays respect to the integral role that the late Professor Peter Taylor played in driving this shift.

Summary of topics:

● What is BGS doing that is different from other school educational improvement programs?
● Customising the program to BGS and our boys.
● Why building self-regulation will support students in achieving their goals?

Ep 8: The results speak for themselves

Research and evaluation of our programs are proving just how effective these outcomes are in delivering better outcomes for our boys. In this episode, we talk to Adam Kuss about tracking the boys’ feedback about their learning journey at BGS.

Summary of topics:

● The bigger picture of learning at BGS – the importance of student feedback
● How to ask open questions to avoid the “model” response from the boys?
● What questions help us to incorporate student voice in learning about the effectiveness of our programs?

Ep 7: A Teacher's Perspective on the Big Shift 

Director of Student Wellbeing Programs and Geography teacher Phillipa Douglas joins Light Dark Blue to discuss how teaching methods have shifted over her 25 years at BGS. Recent developments in the focus of teaching have revolutionised the way she teaches and how the boys response.

Summary of topics:

● The importance of collaborative learning and self-regulation.
● Examples of ‘making thinking visible’.
● How to help a student who doesn’t have a natural affinity for a subject.

Ep 6: What are 'Learning Conversations'?

Parents will have heard the term “learning conversations”, but they might not be sure exactly how they run or how they help the boys. Andrew Webb, from the Learning Organisation Team, tells us the importance of these conversations in supporting the boys in their development as a learner. 

Summary of topics: 

  • What are learning conversations and how are they run? 
  • What is the role of Form Tutors in these conversations?
  • What has been the feedback from the boys so far?  

Ep 5: Hear from the boys: What is CP time all about?

What is Consolidation Period and why has it been added to the timetable? We’ll answer the question many parents might be asking “what’s to stop the boys wasting this valuable time?” We are joined by a panel of students and Hannah Campos Remon, the Director of Organisational Learning at BGS, to discuss the value of CP.

Summary of topics: 

  • What do the boys use CP time for?
  • Productive failure and the pressure of organising learning for yourself.
  • How the boys are learning to use CP time to their advantage. 

Ep 4: The boys’ experience in Applied Thinking classes

What is it like to study Applied Thinking? Does it help with other subjects? We bring together Applied Thinking teacher Naomi Russell and a panel of three BGS boys to find out what they think about this innovative subject.

Summary of topics:

  • How have BGS boys adapted to this subject?
  • How is Applied Thinking different to other subjects?
  • Advice for boys about to start studying Applied Thinking.


Ep 3: What is applied thinking? - with Rebecca Campbell

What is Applied Thinking and why is this new subject now part of the BGS curriculum? Most importantly, how will it help our boys adapt to a variety of learning challenges throughout life? Listen to Head of Middle School Rebecca Campbell explain the topic and provide advice to parents and carers on how they can become more involved in their son’s learning.

Summary of topics:

  • What happens in an Applied Thinking class?
  • Does Applied Thinking help the boys in other subjects?
  • How can parents help their boys in this subject? 


Ep 2: Asking your boys 3-star questions - with Jacqui Zervos

We talk to Executive Director Educational Innovation Jacqui Zervos about how BGS is preparing its students for an uncertain future through the Effective Thinking Cultures initiative. What is it and how does it impact our boys? What is the role for ‘old-school’ teaching and is ChatGPT threatening it all? We also share great questions to get your son thinking more deeply about what they’re learning.

Summary of topics:

  • Why did BGS implement the Effective Thinking Cultures strategy?
  • How does it help students improve their learning?
  • One, two and three-star questions parents and carers can ask their sons to help them think more critically.


Ep 1: Why is BGS starting a podcast - with Headmaster Anthony Micallef 

In Episode 1, BGS Headmaster Anthony Micallef joins podcast host and Old Boy Harry Clarke to discuss the reasons for launching Light Dark Blue.

Summary of topics:

● What listeners can look forward to this season?
● How can parents contribute to their son’s learning?
● How are teaching practices shaping students as lifelong learners and leaders?