14 Feb 24

Motivation, Belonging and Uniform

Newsletter | Principal's Message

Dear Parents,

Often it isn’t what we do that makes the difference, but how and why we do it.

The underlying motivation is key and this can be seen in conversations where the words, the meaning, the statements are all fine on their own, but the tone of voice might be a shocker. Surely you’ve had that unpleasant experience of being spoken to rudely and yet the meaning of the words themselves if isolated from the tone of voice would have been innocuous.

There is a metaphor here that relates to school practices.

We do all the normal school things: we take attendance rolls, we do teaching and testing, we do assessing and reporting, we reprove anti-social behaviours and encourage pro-social behaviours, and so on and so on. Any half-decent Aussie school does these normal school things.

It isn’t doing all the normal school things that makes a school stand out. What is crucial is the reason, the rationale, the motivation underpinning these normal school operations.

Insisting on uniform is a nice, clear example,let me explain.

At MCC we have a reputation for being ‘tough’ on uniform. Yes, we do insist that our students show excellence in the way they wear the gear. But really there is nothing super special about that, lots of schools are tough on uniform. What is interesting though is the underlying reason for insisting on uniform.

Our commitment to our students is protective nurture. In fact, we love our MCC families and we commit ourselves every school day to nurturing their children and seeing them flourish. We want our children to know that they belong. When there is a strong sense of belonging, students flourish. When kids know they belong their learning flourishes, and, here’s the crux…belonging is what school uniform is really all about.

You see, some schools strictly insist on uniform for the sake of compliance. We strictly insist on uniform for the sake of belonging. We want our students to know who they are. They are indeed our students. MCC is their school and they belong here. Uniform simply but strongly reinforces that they belong here.

Although we insist on uniform, it is certainly not for mindless compliance, nor for superficial control. We insist on uniform because wearing MCC colours defines each student as one of ours, and when a student is ours, (I use that pronoun not in a possessive sense, but in a protective sense), we proactively nurture their learning and we proactively nurture them.

How wonderful to be part of a school that has belonging and nurture as its motives.

In the Christian Bible Jesus is recorded as saying “Love one another as I have loved you.” MCC is a Christ-centred learning community, so in centering ourselves on Christ, we follow His teachings. His instruction to love one another must motivate all our actions and everything we say. Even something as simple as being ‘tough’ on uniform can have Christ’s teachings at its underlying motivational level. At MCC, we use uniform to show that you belong. You do belong.

David Gleeson