The Gift of the Five Rs

Mrs Alma Loreaux | Dean of Learning | Grammar News | 3 December 2021


Over the past couple of weeks, I have exchanged a few emails with Professor Guy Claxton and we shared some thoughts around the impact of the pandemic on student learning. In particular, Prof Claxton was interested to learn more about how St Luke’s students managed their learning given the strong focus we’ve had over the years on strengthening learner capacities through our 5Rs. Prof Claxton drew my attention to the recent study on the adaptability of Australian high school students to the challenges of online learning (Martin, Collie, and Nagy, 2021). What emerged from the study was data that confirmed that


“adaptability was significantly associated with higher levels of online learning self-efficacy and with gains in later achievement; online learning self-efficacy was also significantly associated with gains in achievement—and significantly mediated the relationship between adaptability and achievement."


Considering that through our LEARNING@STLUKE’S Framework and dispositions associated with developing resourcefulness and resilience, we now have additional evidence to support the notion that character learning is crucial in strengthening students’ capacity to learn, and consequently their academic achievement. Adaptability moves beyond resilience and allows us to not only persevere through challenges, but also learn to lean into them; navigate uncertainty, and be agile and flexible when we simply don’t know what to do next. It means ‘thinking on our feet’ and making the next right step. It involves the intricate weaving of engaging one’s resourcefulness in particular and having the language for talking and naming the modes with which to be adaptable and flexible in order to successfully embrace any challenge. Watching the Year 12 students graduate this week, I reflected on the way that they have shown compassion and grace as they manoeuvred the changes brought about by the pandemic. They have not only had to engage their resilience, but they have also needed to sit with uncertainty and the discomfort that the delayed HSC Examinations brought about. This has been by far the most trying time and a real test of their adaptability; one which they passed with flying colours.


As I come to my last couple of weeks at St Luke’s Grammar School, I can not help but be deeply appreciative of the gift of the 5Rs that I have been blessed with. Our language for learning has most certainly helped shape my teaching and learning practice at St Luke’s over the past seven years. I am thankful for the significant extent of professional growth that I have been enabled to cultivate here with such outstanding educators, students who strive to be better learners each day, and parents who are genuine and deeply invested in their child’s learning. St Luke’s is most certainly a learning community where each member, be that student or staff, has had the privilege of deepening expertise, contemplating our place in the world, and considering who we are becoming each and every day.

Dear students, parents, and colleagues, thank you so much for allowing me to be on the learning journey with you over the past seven years. It has been an absolute joy to be waking up each morning and very much looking forward to arriving at school and to be learning together.


Martin A.J, Collie R.J and Nagy R.P, (2021). Adaptability and High School Students’ Online Learning During COVID-19: A Job Demands-Resources Perspective. Front. Psychol. 12:702163. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2021.70216