There will be a pause, this year, in the publication of our regular Insights column in BGGS News.
Over the past decade, how we access news has changed dramatically. No longer is reading the morning paper over a cup of coffee or sitting down to watch the evening news the way in which most of us digest local and international news.
A recent study by Oxford University, for example, reinforces that we are moving away from these traditional news sources, preferring to consume news via websites and social media. It found that less than 29 per cent of people under the age of 55 watch television news programs, and only 6.75 per cent of the same group read newspapers.
Yet, with this ease of access, the nature of news has changed profoundly. Thoughtful, well-researched articles are rarely attempted, while a multitude of brief and inconclusive pieces are written purely to meet a quota. The quantity of articles an outlet can ‘push’ to its users (notably, no longer referred to as ‘readers’) and the number of ‘likes’ attained on social media seems more important than maintaining respect for the power of the written word.
Much has changed, yet the need for well-researched pieces from respected and authoritative sources still remains—or perhaps, is more important than ever.
The Brisbane Girls Grammar School Insights publication has, for nine years, sought to meet this need. Sharing the opinions and nuanced thoughts of senior staff with readers who seek a trustworthy, wise and insightful voice amid the ‘din’, Insights asked academic staff to evaluate learning in their particular areas of the School, and in the process of this reflection, provide readers with the opportunity to learn and discuss the same lessons.
Conversation is essential to collaboration, and the written word provides rich stimulus for ongoing conversations about all aspects of education—including its purpose. In a period of great challenge, opportunity and change, a school such is ours is well-placed to contribute to important conversations through carefully constructed, nuanced pieces. As I wrote in my first Insights article: ‘Writing, good writing, is powerful. It can lead to profound change when an idea or fresh perspective causes us to rethink our own views, spur us to action or simply give us pause for thought.’ (2013)
When first conceived, the intention was to publish nine editions, one per year from 2010, with each edition’s cover reflecting a different House colour. This year, the School will publish the last edition—the anthology of contributions from 2018—to close the first iteration of the series, and consider the next phase and new format for Insights to be introduced in 2020.
It has been my privilege to read the words of our extraordinary staff and to share their wisdom with you, and I look forward to the future iterations of Insights.
Ms Jacinda Euler
Oxford University. (2017).Where do people get their news? Retrieved from https://medium.com/oxford-university/where-do-people-get-their-news-8e850a0dea03
Schleicher, A. (2018). Educating students for their future, not our past. Retrieved from https://www.teachermagazine.com.au/columnists/andreas-schleicher/educating-students-for-their-future-not-our-past
Teaching how to think is just as important as teaching anything else. (2015). Retrieved from https://theconversation.com/teaching-how-to-think-is-just-as-important-as-teaching-anything-else-46073