One often hears the idea expressed that young people have short attention spans; it is suggested that the digital culture in which they are immersed, combined with a youthful tendency to distraction and a failure to appreciate the importance of sustained work, lead them to become flibbertigibbets who skate from one thing to another without delving deeply into anything.
Like most such generalisations, there are bound to be aspects of truth in the observation. Our capacity for endeavour and persistence does develop with age and there are habits of mind that take time to engrain in our characters. Part of the school experience needs to be exposure to and experience of sustained effort in connection with authentic tasks; students who experience the pleasure of the rigour of learning will understand how to return to and embrace hard work. Our observation is that the experience of preparing a 'major work' is one such experience for our Year 12 students.
In the terminology of the BOSTES, 'major works' are those performances and projects that are externally assessed and for which the mark will be a component of the student's examination mark in that subject. Examples of this include: Music; Drama; Visual arts; Industrial Technology - Multimedia; Textiles Technology; Design and Technology; and English Extension 2. In our school context, a number of subjects include a 'major project', where a student works on a particular project throughout the HSC year and for which the project mark contributes to the student's school-based assessment rank. Examples include the English Extension; History Extension and Software Design and Development projects.
Every year the School hosts a series of three evening events called the HSC Projects Festival at which we celebrate our students' major works and major projects. The first of these events happened on Wednesday 3rd August; the next two are scheduled for Tuesday 23 August and Wednesday 31 August. These events, which are open to all members of the school community, provide an invaluable perspective for students in Years 10 and 11 who are contemplating taking on subjects with a major work or a major project.
As you peruse the works at this year’s festival you will see the results of sustained effort at authentic tasks. You will witness tremendous creativity, fine-tuned via discussions with teachers and trusted others. The students deserve the accolades for the time they have devoted to their work and for expertise that they have shown. I commend to you also their teachers for their dedication, in particular for the extensive feedback they have offered.
The works on show represent the ideas about which the students are most passionate, hundreds of hours of productive conversation, trial and error, laughter and tears – and then, an enormous achievement in the form of sustained composition, dramatic or musical performance, an artwork, design portfolio, and so on. In the major works and projects, the final product and the journey of toil are both worthy of our respect and recognition.
Inaburra therefore congratulates each of the students exhibiting works over the course of our festival evenings, and thanks deeply each of the staff members whose privilege it has been to assist these students in realising the ideas with which they began. We also take this opportunity, on behalf of the students, to thank parents and others who have encouraged and listened throughout the process of completing these major works and projects.
I hope that you will be able to make the time to view and read and listen to the wonderful works on display at our festivals. We are immensely proud of our students' efforts, learning and achievements.