Leading Learning that Matters
In his book Future Wise: Educating our Children for a Changing World, Professor David Perkins from Harvard’s Project Zero examines the issue of what’s worth learning.  It is a proposition that is continually at the fore of my thinking as we are challenged to design learning opportunities and curriculum that will engage our girls’ hearts and minds, enable them to achieve the academic standards required for their future pathways and help to prepare them for new professional landscapes in a highly connected world.

As a founding member of Project Zero at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and Co-Director for over 25 years with Howard Gardner, Professor Perkins has conducted long-term programs of research and development in the areas of teaching and learning for understanding, creativity, problem-solving and reasoning in the arts, sciences and everyday life. He has also spent time understanding the role of educational technology in teaching and learning.  Professor Perkins works with leading educational teams globally including schools in Australia.

As a school that is focused on worthwhile learning that will prepare girls for their future, I was delighted to be invited as one of 10 Principals from Victoria and one from South Australia to work with Professor Perkins and the team at Harvard’s Project Zero, in conjunction with Independent Schools Victoria (ISV) on a two-year project, ‘Leading Learning that Matters’.  The joint venture between Project Zero and ISV allows selected Principals to identify the leadership practices needed to plan and implement school innovations for 21st Century learning, enhancing leadership skills and the development of contemporary teaching and learning understandings and practices, whilst drawing on the expertise of world renowned experts in this area.

Through a series of workshops this year with the Project Zero and the ISV team, I have been able to bring some clarity to our vision for the ‘Learning that Matters at CGGS’ and explore what defines academic success at CGGS.  We have also been reviewing our principles for learning as we establish our new learning framework and I look forward to sharing more with you as our project progresses.

Within our strong culture of learning and achievement, we are also committed to developing the skillset, mindset and toolkit of every student to enhance curiosity and courage in learning and creating a more just and sustainable world.  Similarly, when we talk about academic success at CGGS, results are one part of the equation.  Our focus also revolves around an individual student’s:

  • growth and tenacity in their learning
  • ability to articulate their learning, and
  • ability to demonstrate and share their learning

Many of our programs are increasingly incorporating these factors and require teachers to not only reflect on their students as learners, but also what it means for themselves to be a learner.

As part of this initiative with the team of Principals, I will be travelling to the USA on a study tour during the last two weeks of term to learn about leadership in a number of key global organisations, concluding with a residential at the Harvard Graduate School of Education with Professor Perkins and his team.

I look forward to sharing my learning with you when I return.


With best wishes,

Debbie Dunwoody


Perkins, D 2014, Future Wise:  Educating our Children for a Changing World, Wiley Press, San Francisco

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