“Self-reflection is the school of wisdom”
― Baltasar Gracián
The campus came to life since the staff and students returned for the start of 2024, and I was delighted to welcome them back.
In the second week of term, most students had their examinations/controlled assessments. In the lead-up to this time, I like to remind the girls that examinations are a natural part of school life and should not be a source of worry. They have been working towards these all semester. Generations of students have taken examinations and survived! All we can ask is that they do their best.
Throughout examination week, there was a palpable air of focused concentration. These evaluative moments serve as a platform for students to showcase their accumulated knowledge and the results of their endeavours at the end of this first semester. They also are a valuable tool for pinpointing areas of strength and areas that require further consolidation. These points in our educational journey are essential to take stock and direct the way forward. Some students may be delighted with the outcomes of these assessments, and others may be disappointed; however, the most important thing is not solely the result achieved but how this informs how they move forward. There should be an acknowledgment of success and the self-appreciation that comes with this, but also a recognition of areas for growth and improvement. At the heart of this is self-reflection.
Self–reflection, a fundamental characteristic of the IB learner profile, is embraced with sincerity here at Marymount. Through self-reflection, we grow as individuals; as the IBO states, it is a means to “understand our strengths and weaknesses to support our learning and personal development.” This part of the learning process is crucial in paving the pathway to reaching one’s potential.
Following examination week and when the examinations are returned, I encourage the students to take the time to reflect and ask themselves pertinent questions such as:
- Did I maximise my time in class to ensure understanding and ask for help when needed?
- Were my notes up to date?
- Did I plan my revision well?
- Do I know what revision and exam strategies work well for me?
- Could I improve my exam technique?
Evaluating these core questions empowers students to reflect deeply on their academic practices, fostering a commitment to ongoing development. Most important is what they will continue to do and what they will change moving forward to help them achieve their potential. Their teachers and Advisors will, of course, assist with this process of self-reflection.
We are lifelong learners, and this process is another way of growing and developing. It is a means of recognising that we have agency in our futures. Aristotle spoke of the importance of habit and practise in cultivating good traits and as students move up through the school, we hope their academic habits are becoming more and more refined.
Grade 12 have been continuing with lessons in preparation for their mock examinations and, of course, their IB examinations in May. They must continue cultivating these good habits and use the remaining months to fully engage in their learning and maximise their opportunities for reaching their potential.
Over the course of the academic year, I would encourage you to engage in conversations with your daughters about their self-reflection and how this has enhanced their awareness of themselves as an IB learner.