Dear Xavierans, welcome back for another school year. I hope you all have enjoyed a refreshing summer break.
Every year, we emphasize the importance of goal setting. A person without at least a short term goal could wander aimlessly and be very unproductive. So in our student handbooks, we expect the boys to write down goals for each academic year and use the handbook as a constant reminder to spur them to achieve these goals. For our F.6 students this year, I think the goals are quite clear because the HKDSE is approaching fast.
The importance of goal setting also applies to schools. A school without goals for improvement can risk becoming stagnant or even obsolete under the tides of change. The government also requests all subsidized schools to make development plans every three years. This year marks the beginning of another 3-year cycle of school development. With the help of all teachers, the school has set two new major concerns, in other words, two new goals for the improvement of our school.
So allow me to share with you the two new goals that I wish all of us, as members of this learning community, could strive to achieve.
Goal number 1: Strive for effectiveness and innovation in learning and teaching.
Remember the key words: effectiveness and innovation. How does that apply to learning and teaching? For students, effectiveness means studying with an intension to produce results. So when student are setting personal goals, we help them to set their eyes on achievable and measurable improvements. For example, if a student has failed English Language in the last term, a measurable improvement would be to pass the subject exam in the coming term. Or to be even more specific, he should aim to get a 10-mark improvement in the subject average. Before that student write these goals down on his handbook. We urge him to ask himself if that 10-mark improvement is attainable for him. If he really means to set these goals, we will ask him what he is willing to sacrifice to achieve them. Once a student set specific goals, they should become his personal major concerns. He should strive hard and even make sacrifice to turn his study into a process to produce these measurable results. That is effectiveness in learning.
Another keyword word - innovation - is more open to interpretation. It can mean trying something new in different aspects of school life. For example, it can mean adopting a new habit in studying, like using a time table for revision. It can also mean engaging in a new school activity that one has never tried before, such as trying out English debates with our debating team.
Of course, for us teachers, teaching effectiveness and innovation means that we will strive to bring about effective classroom teaching with new strategies. I want to stress that innovation does not have to mean coming up with something very visionary or entirely unheard of. It simply means venturing out of our comfort zones and trying something new that benefits the students. So let us work together as a family to achieve this goal of effective and innovative learning and teaching.
Goal number 2: Carry on the tradition to be a Catholic school with Marist Distinctive Styles.
For this goal, remember the key words: Catholic school with Marist styles. This year, we have 124 new F.1 students and 3 new students in F.2 and F.3. For these 127 new students and their parents, I hope they have not missed the important fact that they have chosen a Catholic school. I think all of us, teachers and students, believers and non-believers, had known this fact before we signed up to be a member of this community. You do not need to worry if you are a non-believer. Though we mention “(making) Jesus known and loved to the young” in our mission statements, we do not intent to force our belief on you. Our 2nd goal in the next three years is meant for us to use schooling to re-emphasize our Catholic core values: Truth, Justice, Love, Life and Family in conjunction with the 5 Marist Distinctive Styles in Education: Presence, Simplicity, Family Spirit, Love of Work and In the Way of Mary. Our purpose is to provide our students a moral compass that can guide them and offer them bearings in life. I hope that by the time they graduate from this school, even if they do not turn to Catholicism, they can still internalize the Catholic core values and use them as an anchor to make informed judgments in life.
Talking about the Marist Styles, I wish that they are not only the styles of the Marist Brothers but also the personal styles of each member of the Xaverian family. Please pay attention to little things happening in the school that reflect the Marist styles of education, like caring for the needs of our fellow Xaverians, that is a subtle reflection of ‘in the way of Mary”. As I mentioned many times in the past few years, we students, teachers and alumni should bear the torch passed on to us by the Brothers and be ambassadors to emanate the Marist spirit. So even when the number of Brothers among us is decreasing, the Marist spirit continues to bring positive impacts to the society through us.
In conclusion, please remember the key words in our 2 major concerns: 1st: effectiveness and innovation in learning and teaching, 2nd: Catholic school with Marist styles.
May God bless us all a fruitful school year in 2018-2019. Thank you.
Mr. IU kwong Chi