A Perfect Mess

A Perfect Mess, a publication by Abrahamson and Freedman in 2006, examines the hidden benefits of disorder.  They suggest “Messiness is sometimes taken as a sign of weakness.” (p 96),  and continues to show  that some valuable insights and learning  can evolve from messiness.   From our perspective it is important that at least one more step is taken to provide structure to this seemingly ‘messiness’ in learning.  This way we can support meaningful student learning in open forum class groups, random discussions around the dinner table at home or in the boarding school and in the way students are organised  for learning. 

Student organisation is very important to maximise their learning.  Teachers are able to gain insight into how students plan their thinking and learning by observing the way they organise their school work and manage their planner, by paying attention to how they work in class, and through reflection on the type of questions they ask and the work they present.  

This week in the Year 11 Curriculum Period, students investigated the concept of being organised in life and their learning for the HSC. This involved building an awareness of their physical and mental organisation by the provision of some templates for planning in 2019 and engaging in a series of memory and lateral thinking activities. 

There seem to be four types of organisation adopted by students. This involves the practical material aspects of student organisation and the organisation of their thinking – both feed into each other.  A student may be practically organised and their thinking disorganised, organised in their thinking and disorganised in practice, organised in thinking and practice and finally disorganised in both thinking and practice. 

Although  A Perfect Mess    suggests there are benefits from disorder; in school perhaps we should focused on the idea that being organised helps the majority of students.  Generally speaking, if a student is struggling with their learning, assessment tasks and class tasks, and their papers  are scattered all over their learning space and their digital file management is ‘messy’, then this might be a flag for the teacher, parent/guardian to step in and provide some guidance.


Mr Martin Pluss

Dean of Learning 



Year 12 2018 Awards Ceremony Photos

Photography taken at the Year 12 2018 Awards Ceremony is available from  Advanced Life . Please use code 6DG E39 QM6 to order.



Dates to Remember –  Term 4  2018

Year 12 HSC Examinations

Thursday 18 October to Friday 9 November

Year 10 Year 10 Examinations Thursday 1 November to Friday 9 November
Year 10 Year 10 YCON 2018

Monday 19 November to Friday 30 November

Years 7 – 11 Years 7 – 11 Awards Ceremony

Thursday  6 December

12:45pm – 3:15pm


Year 12 HSC Results Principal’s Morning Tea

Friday 14 December

10:00am – 11:00am

Mary Ward Quad