In This Together

Subject Selection – an opportunity to help your daughter with her ability to make decisions
The ability to make wise and informed decisions is something that does not come naturally to most young people. It is a skill that is developed through a range of experiences, both good and bad. In order to assist our girls in the development of their ability to make well informed decisions, we need to look for opportunities to have conversations with them about what a good decision making process might look like. We need to help them identify the type of questions one should ask when trying to weigh up the pros and cons of a situation or when trying to decide which option one might take when presented with a particular problem or issue.

Next week, in the Secondary school, it is Orientation Week. Students currently in Year 7 through to Year 10 will be asked to decide upon what elective subjects they would like to study in 2019. For students entering Year 8 it will be the first time that they are given an opportunity to have some say in what they are going to study, whilst students going into Year 11 will for the first time be asked to decide upon their entire pattern of study. Some girls will be very confident and definite in the choices that they wish to make. Whilst others will struggle with the decision because they are very unsure about what to do or they will worry about the consequence of making the wrong decision.

It is my opinion, that this process of subject selection presents an opportunity to have conversations with your daughter about how to reach a decision that feels right for her. It provides the perfect platform upon which to model for your daughter the need to ask questions in order to assist in the making of a good decision. What subjects do I enjoy? What am I good at? What might I like to learn more about? are some questions she should consider in trying to reach a decision about what electives to select. Additionally, other advice you could give your daughter might be for her to consider what other information she needs to gather or who she might talk to in order to find out more about particular subjects.

Making decisions about a future pattern of study may also provide you with the chance to have discussions with your daughter about making choices that are right for her, rather than for others. That is, ensuring that she is selecting a subject because it is something that she wishes to study rather than making a choice because her two best friends are selecting that subject. Discussing with your daughter, what options are right for her may provide you the chance to remind her that in some instances as young a person she will feel pressure from others to do something that she might not be comfortable about and that she should always remember that she should stick to what she feels is right for her rather than give into the pressure she might feel from those around her.

Therefore, when chatting with your daughter about what subjects she might like to study in 2019 or having this discussion at some point in the future, remember to think about using it as an opportunity to provide her with the tools to make decisions for herself. In this instance it is a safe and structured situation where there is a great deal of support for her to reach a decision with which she is comfortable. However, it might just also help develop within her the skills to make wiser decisions when she may be faced with more challenging and significant choices at some point in time.

Andrew Gallagher
Director of Curriculum