GSE Leaders Explore Murmuring
One of the hallmarks of Good Samaritan Education is its supportive networks of staff in similar roles across the ten schools. Recently, the Assistant Principals and Deputy Principals from GSE schools from across Australia gathered in Brisbane for a conference entitled “Managing the Murmuring Monster”. It was an engaging gathering with a variety of inspiring speakers.
Kathleen Noonan, a parent at Lourdes Hill College and a successful journalist, was the opening keynote speaker. She gave delegates an insight into murmuring in the media, helping them to understand the current media context and suggesting ways to best manage the media in times of stress. The key message was to communicate honestly and in a timely manner, controlling the situation as much as possible by having specific, relevant points and sticking to them.
The next speaker was Dr Joann Lukins, a Townsville psychologist with a passion for positive psychology. A brilliant presenter, Jo focussed on how to deal with the inner doubts and murmurings we all encounter in daily life. Her presentation explored the notion of mindfulness, the ability to live in and make the most of the present. Using examples from her work with top sport performers (including the Cowboys, Crocodiles, Fire and Fury), Jo suggested a range of techniques to help improve focus and maximise performance.
Sr Meg Kahler sgs then led delegates through references to murmuring in the Rule of Benedict. Benedict warns that murmurers (grumblers) are the enemies of community. Rather than whinging and moaning, Benedict urges community members to accept the decisions made by those in charge and to make the most of the situation. Hand in hand with this is the need for those in charge to listen to the community and to make decisions based on meeting those needs.
After a tour of Lourdes Hill’s new buildings, the Chapel of Our Lady of Lourdes and the Bernadette Centre, participants gathered for a beautiful Mass with celebrant, Bishop Bill Morris. Bishop Bill spoke of the role of leaders in Catholic schools as prophets and challenged all present to lead with integrity and courage, qualities he exemplifies himself.
The final speaker was Tim Longwill, who turned the attention to murmuring in the cyber world. Tim updated delegates on the scary realities of online bullying, making the point that it involves the same mentalities as regular bullying but perpetrators feel braver. Sadly, statistics suggest victims rarely confide in parents or teachers although both they and perpetrators agree that this is the best way to stop the behaviour.
The conference concluded with a sharing practice workshop, strengthening the sense of community among the group. Each delegate shared an idea or project from their own school, highlighting the spirit of cooperation that exists in GSE schools. The APDP Conference is certainly a highlight in the GSE calendar and plans are already in train to ensure next year’s conference builds on the strong networks that already exist.
John Clarke, Lourdes Hill College