From the head's desk: 13 May 2022

Deanne King

The definition of the word ‘noise’ is any loud, discordant, or disagreeable sound or sounds. Noise has also come to describe the constant bombardment of commentary, opinion, analysis and discussion delivered on digital platforms that fill our days. This noise creates tension, unease and even aggression. Authors Daniel Kahneman, Olivier Sibony and Cass Sunstein in their book Noise, A Flaw in Human Judgement explore how noise challenges accuracy, good decision-making and leads to errors in judgement.

To escape such noise, which had filled my office, I recently took a walk around the school on a beautiful autumn afternoon. There were no sports matches to watch, only practice sessions and cultural activities that were in rehearsal. The walk was a most pleasant reminder of children at play and the sound of children playing. The sounds included voices that travelled from choir practice, dramatic monologues, hockey balls against sticks and bouncing balls on the hard surfaces of the netball courts. Some girls were seated in the gardens completing homework and happily collaborating. Laughter, giggling and happy greetings punctuated the afternoon. The scene and the sounds were arresting.

The sounds were the furthest thing from noise: they were sounds of joy, friendship and human effort and a reminder to me of school as a haven where children learn, where they socialise, where they develop and stretch themselves through a range and variety of experiences designed to benefit personal development.

Following the hours spent in a classroom where thinking, reading, creativity and discernment are assessed, an afternoon in the sun with friends exploring talent, physical ability and the sheer pleasure of participation certainly enhances the life of our children. It also removes them from the noise that has come to permeate our lifestyles.


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