Sunday, October 16, 2016

Freedom, paint me a picture, show it to me right now! (The Guess Who)

What's the most important skill a school can pass on to its students?

That seems like a pretty good question to my less is more brain. The most important skill. Single. Just one. 

What do you think?

I'm sure we could all come up with various answers to create a list. It might include one of these skills  from Mr Kemp: creative thinker; problem solver; collaborator; effective communicator; being ethical and empathetic.

The Evangelical School Berlin Centre (ESBC) is a German school that has become very successful by working from that point (deciding on one skill) and making the school fit around that one skill. 

Interestingly, it's not one of Craig Kemp's.

So, what is it?

Well, the school’s headteacher, Margret Rasfeld, argues, the most important skill a school can pass down to its students is the ability to motivate themselves. 

I like this!

She goes on to say, “The mission of a progressive school should be to prepare young people to cope with change, or better still, to make them look forward to change. In the 21st century, schools should see it as their job to develop strong personalities.”

I like this too!

Recently, I wrote a post about the lack of motivation/ urgency from students asked to study during a recent break between terms. Not for the first time, I was laughed at for suggesting we change our semantic stance from 'holiday' to 'study break'. 

The intrinsic motivation within the great majority of my students seemed to be completely lacking during the study break. To clarify further: I'm hopeful that some students in other classes did study - it's just that none of mine did anything for me to mark or to provide valuable feedback.

As for change - my current school is like many others, I guess. Many of the students do not like change and that's, if anything, an understatement. Of course, many of the staff do not like change either. 

Two years after changing the organisational culture of the school from a horizontal system to a vertical one, and still the students can not adapt to that change. More than that, they want a return to the previous system of horizontal form classes.

To my way of thinking, this is a great pity. As Don Henley knows, "Don't look back, you can never look back!"

I've not come across this unwillingness to change to this degree at any of my previous schools.

We should be better at making our students look forward to change.

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