Head of House: Maye

A Learning Community – Indeed!

Last term, our Year 9 students attended a presentation on the value of good sleep – “Sleep for Better Health, Resilience and Performance” during which they all received a sleep diary to help them record their sleep patterns for two weeks. This term staff attended a workshop by Dr Danielle Einstein on “How to manage Uncertainty” and last week all of the Year 7 and 8 girls attended workshops on ‘Digital Health’.

There is a direct link between these learning sessions with digital devices the common denominator. Smartphones – a relatively new invention of humanity – quickly became an integral part of human life as it combines different sophisticated features and plays a central part of modern telecommunication. The growing number of smartphones and smartphone owners raises a concern as only a little knowledge about the side effects is known and the full impact still needs to be fully researched and uncovered.

“In February, Federal Education Minister Simon Birmingham called on schools to ban phones – only to unleash a wave of angry responses from technophiles who point to the advantages of integrating technology into classrooms to prepare children for the role that super-fast areas of information will play in their lives.” Dr Danielle Einstein and Dr Helen Wright

This call was not new to Loreto as guidelines were already in place to effectively help manage the impact and use of smart devices at our school. Dr Danielle Einstein and Dr Helen Wright argues that this ban is vital for students. The benefits are clear; to increase student focus and learning in class; to enable the building and maintaining of quality relationships through face-to face social interactions, to increase the capacity to calm emotions and to withstand uncertainty. They noted that it is essential that our children need to learn how to engage with people around them when the unexpected happens and a smartphone is often little more than a comfort blanket when we are worried about the future and feeling unsure. Managing uncertainty is a critical component for resilience.

Leonid Miakotko, who studied recent scientific facts on the use of smartphones and analysed data on the impact on human health and life, listed two major concerns; the effect of electromagnetic waves on the human brain and the effect of handheld device usage on human’s upper extremities, back, and neck.

‘Blue Light’ from digital screens is currently in the spotlight as the blue wavelengths have a stimulating effect on mood and energy. While this can be useful during the day, at night it can interrupt the body’s biological clock – the circadian rhythm – and upset sleep patterns and metabolisms. This happens by disrupting the secretion of melatonin, the hormone that controls circadian rhythms and can potentially lead to many other health problems. Any kind of light at night can affect melatonin levels, but blue light with a stronger effect has shown to suppress melatonin for twice as long as exposure to light of any other colour wavelength.

As there is no single solution to managing the complexity of risks around the use of mobile devices, it is essential that we continue to educate ourselves and our students to be socially responsible users of digital technology and adopt healthy strategies.

We will soon will start to farewell our beloved Year 12’s and we thank them for their leadership, the impact they have had on the Maye House community and the way they have supported each other, their buddies and the younger girls within each Tutor Group. We wish them every success for this final part of their journey at Loreto and the upcoming HSC examinations.

We thank our House Captain, Amelia Kenny together with the Maye House Council, who has led the house this year with passion, vibrancy and generosity. Congratulations to our new Maye House Captain, Bernice O’Brien, who will soon take over the mantle of leadership within our House. We eagerly await the announcement of the new Maye House Council and Conductor who will help guide us into another exciting year.

 

Mrs Elsa Vink

Head of Maye House