Presidents Newsletter - 25 May 2015

Why choose William Light?

Back in the 1990's I was the leader of a large Australian school system. At that time we created a strategic theme for education entitled, 'Great Expectations'. 'Great Expectations' was based on our intuition, observations and research that positive expectations had a powerful impact on student learning outcomes particularly in lower socio-economic areas where underachievement seemed to persist.

Since the 1990's there have been significant breakthroughs in brain science and motivational psychology that, as Professor Carol Dwerk from Stanford University says, are the measurable benefits of a 'growth mindset' (see a create summary in her video 'The Power of Believing You Can Improve' on Ted Talks). If we reward students who continue to try, to be challenged by difficult issues, who push out of their comfort zones and persist in meeting those challenges, the evidence is that they get smarter! Their brains develop more and stronger connections. They put in more effort in their learning, develop more strategies and persevere and persist with the challenges they face. Professor Dwerk cites a range of examples of where underperforming schools and colleges have made great advances in a short period using techniques to encourage such mindsets.

Recently at The William Light Institute we have had many great discussions with prospective students and their families. 'Why should we choose William Light?' they ask.

We often talk about living in the beautiful city of Adelaide with its educational heritage, safe environment and relatively inexpensive living costs. We talk about our partner Australian Catholic University with its focus on ethics, sustainability and education of the 'whole person'. But what I wish to focus on today is William Light's fantastic record of academic achievement by our students. This success is born out of a range of important factors.

We have great staff who are passionate about their teaching and student support roles. Our small class sizes mean students are treated as individuals not numbers. At William Light we make new students feel like they are part of the family and all their needs like accommodation, social contacts, part time jobs and learning supports are taken care of. We know those who are having difficulties often before they do themselves! We also take on the latest methods such as the 'growth mindset' so we don't talk about 'failure' we talk about as Professor Dwerk says, 'yet' and 'not yet'. We are always moving forward pushing the limits and encouraging perseverance and persistence. All of us at William Light are striving to get smarter!

The William Light Institute in association with Australian Catholic University now has a Bachelor of Commerce (Accounting) course. A group of business diploma students recently challenged us at why they should do a B Com Accounting course as opposed to a traditional Bachelor of Business program. My response is that both are excellent foundations for a career in business. However what our B Com Accounting course does is open the door to a professional association, CPA Australia, with over 150,000 members in 120 countries around the world. Also over 30 per cent of Australian businesses have an accounting graduate as their CEO. So our B Com Accounting can be a great place to start your career!

Regards

Greg Black