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Always Learning

Alex St Vincent Welch, Music Teacher at Morris Hall, was one of the first recipients of the Professional Learning Fellowship Award last year. The Fellowship funded his attendance at the Cuskelly School of Music Summer School in January. There he was able to expand his knowledge of teaching, and specifically teaching music. Alex intends to attend this program regularly; he seeks to challenge traditional norms and be pushed out of his comfort zone to ensure he becomes not just a better teacher but ultimately a better musician.

In 2019, Principal Dr Toni Meath, CEE and the School Council created the Melbourne Girls Grammar Professional Learning Fellowship Award (PLFA). This exciting new Award was made possible through the generous support of School Council and is open to all ongoing employees at MGGS.

Given the number of staff, and dedicated members of faculty who work hard to extend their professional learning, Alex wasn’t sure his application would get the approval it did. Alex had been attending the Summer School every couple of years independently of school funded courses to continue his learning of how best to educate young musicians in a way that allowed them to grasp concepts beyond performance and theory, and into appreciation.

With an amateur passion for neuroscience, Alex loves to combine this interest with his other passions of teaching and music. This love spurred his implementation of initiatives such as group singing at the beginning of the day, and instrumental music for students with low literacy – both proven to be beneficial for wellbeing and academic outcomes.

“Teachers should be the utmost expert at what they’re doing in the classroom, so for music they should be a musician first and foremost,” said Alex. “That’s what the Summer School is about, first being an expert in musicianship and an excellent musician, and then, knowing how to be a better teacher.”

As an innovative music teacher, Alex has demonstrated his expertise in musicianship. Our young Grammarians are provided age appropriate songs and performance opportunities that reinforce the School’s values. His creativity through music and the use of potent well-crafted narrative, enables him to engage our youngest learners and bring a real understanding of what it means to be independent, have boldness of character, and the courage to stand up for what you believe in.

With an amateur passion for neuroscience, Alex loves to combine this interest with his other passions of teaching and music. This love spurred his implementation of initiatives such as group singing at the beginning of the day, and instrumental music for students with low literacy – both proven to be beneficial for wellbeing and academic outcomes.

“Teachers should be the utmost expert at what they’re doing in the classroom, so for music they should be a musician first and foremost,” said Alex. “That’s what the Summer School is about, first being an expert in musicianship and an excellent musician, and then, knowing how to be a better teacher.”

As an innovative music teacher, Alex has demonstrated his expertise in musicianship. Our young Grammarians are provided age appropriate songs and performance opportunities that reinforce the School’s values. His creativity through music and the use of potent well-crafted narrative, enables him to engage our youngest learners and bring a real understanding of what it means to be independent, have boldness of character, and the courage to stand up for what you believe in.

With an amateur passion for neuroscience, Alex loves to combine this interest with his other passions of teaching and music. This love spurred his implementation of initiatives such as group singing at the beginning of the day, and instrumental music for students with low literacy – both proven to be beneficial for wellbeing and academic outcomes.

“Teachers should be the utmost expert at what they’re doing in the classroom, so for music they should be a musician first and foremost,” said Alex. “That’s what the Summer School is about, first being an expert in musicianship and an excellent musician, and then, knowing how to be a better teacher.”

As an innovative music teacher, Alex has demonstrated his expertise in musicianship. Our young Grammarians are provided age appropriate songs and performance opportunities that reinforce the School’s values. His creativity through music and the use of potent well-crafted narrative, enables him to engage our youngest learners and bring a real understanding of what it means to be independent, have boldness of character, and the courage to stand up for what you believe in.

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“We’re Melbourne Girls Grammar, not some cookie cutter school. So let’s do projects that are unique to us, because our curriculum is unique and so are our students.”

— Alex St Vincent Welch

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“Let’s use our performances to spark conversation and enact change. We’re Melbourne Girls Grammar, not some cookie cutter school. So, let’s do projects that are unique to us, because our curriculum is unique and so are our students,” said Alex. "Art should really be there to challenge and inspire, not just to put something on for the sake of it.”

While consistently pointing out that he is not a composer, Alex has nonetheless proven he knows how to write for our students. With Alice in Wonderland and The Wind in the Willows, he created golden opportunities to veer off the path most taken; he reimagined performances, enabled innovative thinking and inspired those who performed, participated and observed the theatrics.

Part of Alex’s drive to apply for the PLFA was so that he could fund his ongoing instrumental lessons – his voice. By working on his singing, Alex learns more about ‘healthy’ singing techniques that he can pass on to his students. Alex believes that as an introduction to building a lifelong love of music, you need to sing first; this is what every student at Morris Hall is encouraged to do.

“When you learn a language, you speak first and you babble, you make lots of sounds and then you encode those sounds with meaning. That's why in my classroom we sing first. Our voice is the first instrument we have, it's free, it's cheap, you can't break it and you can’t forget it,” said Alex.

“Let’s use our performances to spark conversation and enact change. We’re Melbourne Girls Grammar, not some cookie cutter school. So, let’s do projects that are unique to us, because our curriculum is unique and so are our students,” said Alex. "Art should really be there to challenge and inspire, not just to put something on for the sake of it.”

While consistently pointing out that he is not a composer, Alex has nonetheless proven he knows how to write for our students. With Alice in Wonderland and The Wind in the Willows, he created golden opportunities to veer off the path most taken; he reimagined performances, enabled innovative thinking and inspired those who performed, participated and observed the theatrics.

Part of Alex’s drive to apply for the PLFA was so that he could fund his ongoing instrumental lessons – his voice. By working on his singing, Alex learns more about ‘healthy’ singing techniques that he can pass on to his students. Alex believes that as an introduction to building a lifelong love of music, you need to sing first; this is what every student at Morris Hall is encouraged to do.

“When you learn a language, you speak first and you babble, you make lots of sounds and then you encode those sounds with meaning. That's why in my classroom we sing first. Our voice is the first instrument we have, it's free, it's cheap, you can't break it and you can’t forget it,” said Alex.

“Let’s use our performances to spark conversation and enact change. We’re Melbourne Girls Grammar, not some cookie cutter school. So, let’s do projects that are unique to us, because our curriculum is unique and so are our students,” said Alex. "Art should really be there to challenge and inspire, not just to put something on for the sake of it.”

While consistently pointing out that he is not a composer, Alex has nonetheless proven he knows how to write for our students. With Alice in Wonderland and The Wind in the Willows, he created golden opportunities to veer off the path most taken; he reimagined performances, enabled innovative thinking and inspired those who performed, participated and observed the theatrics.

Part of Alex’s drive to apply for the PLFA was so that he could fund his ongoing instrumental lessons – his voice. By working on his singing, Alex learns more about ‘healthy’ singing techniques that he can pass on to his students. Alex believes that as an introduction to building a lifelong love of music, you need to sing first; this is what every student at Morris Hall is encouraged to do.

“When you learn a language, you speak first and you babble, you make lots of sounds and then you encode those sounds with meaning. That's why in my classroom we sing first. Our voice is the first instrument we have, it's free, it's cheap, you can't break it and you can’t forget it,” said Alex.

After attending the Summer School and continuing with his singing lessons, Alex strongly believes that he returned to the classroom reinvigorated.

“When you’re exposed to really great teachers and given the tools that allow you to explore ideas and capture attention, it’s easy to become motivated. You’re excited to return with your new concepts and an extended repertoire,” said Alex.

Courses like this inspire Alex; he constantly strives for new ways to teach and learn. Reflecting on his own education, Alex looks to be as innovative, challenging and passionate about what he teaches as he can be, and to ignite in others his passion for music.

The Professional Learning Fellowship Award is just one way that the School encourages staff to continue looking for new ways to educate themselves and our Grammarians. Part of our ethos as a school is around our lifelong love of learning, not only for our students but as a community of learners, eager for information and innovation. This mindset transfers to our Grammarians as we encourage them to always strive, ask more questions, seek out information and truths, and that the journey of education never ends.

After attending the Summer School and continuing with his singing lessons, Alex strongly believes that he returned to the classroom reinvigorated.

“When you’re exposed to really great teachers and given the tools that allow you to explore ideas and capture attention, it’s easy to become motivated. You’re excited to return with your new concepts and an extended repertoire,” said Alex.

Courses like this inspire Alex; he constantly strives for new ways to teach and learn. Reflecting on his own education, Alex looks to be as innovative, challenging and passionate about what he teaches as he can be, and to ignite in others his passion for music.

The Professional Learning Fellowship Award is just one way that the School encourages staff to continue looking for new ways to educate themselves and our Grammarians. Part of our ethos as a school is around our lifelong love of learning, not only for our students but as a community of learners, eager for information and innovation. This mindset transfers to our Grammarians as we encourage them to always strive, ask more questions, seek out information and truths, and that the journey of education never ends.

After attending the Summer School and continuing with his singing lessons, Alex strongly believes that he returned to the classroom reinvigorated.

“When you’re exposed to really great teachers and given the tools that allow you to explore ideas and capture attention, it’s easy to become motivated. You’re excited to return with your new concepts and an extended repertoire,” said Alex.

Courses like this inspire Alex; he constantly strives for new ways to teach and learn. Reflecting on his own education, Alex looks to be as innovative, challenging and passionate about what he teaches as he can be, and to ignite in others his passion for music.

The Professional Learning Fellowship Award is just one way that the School encourages staff to continue looking for new ways to educate themselves and our Grammarians. Part of our ethos as a school is around our lifelong love of learning, not only for our students but as a community of learners, eager for information and innovation. This mindset transfers to our Grammarians as we encourage them to always strive, ask more questions, seek out information and truths, and that the journey of education never ends.

While 2019 was only the first year of the PLFA, we’re excited to see what our staff are able to do with the grants and how it translates to the learner in the future.

While 2019 was only the first year of the PLFA, we’re excited to see what our staff are able to do with the grants and how it translates to the learner in the future.

While 2019 was only the first year of the PLFA, we’re excited to see what our staff are able to do with the grants and how it translates to the learner in the future.

Article written by

Sam Emms

Marketing Coordinator

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