I have recently returned from a range of extraordinary learning experiences undertaken in the form of study leave. The Board of The Knox School supported my plan to spend time with notable educators, discussing and learning world’s best practice in school education.
The focus of the discussions was how best to address the learning needs of individuals, personalizing their learning in a world of rapidly changing economic and technological contexts, that then affect social, emotional, tertiary study and employment opportunities for young people.
The study and discussions confirmed the efficacy of our school strategy to focus on the four pillars of Connect (building positive relationships), Shape (explicit teaching and influence), Provoke (challenging thinking) and Position (setting up students for success in the next steps of their life’s journey).
There is no doubt that a first class school education now comprises three, interconnected journeys.
The first is the traditional academic and intellectual development that we are so familiar with in schools, often described by the shorthand of the 3R’s.
The second is the development of character. This is where we work most closely in partnership with a child’s first teachers, their parents. Character is the development of values and moral frameworks, positive behaviours and dispositions, resilience and a contribution that benefits others.
Finally, and most recently recognised as of great importance are the characteristics of an Adaptive Skills set (sometimes inappropriately called 21st century skills as they have always existed and been used). Adaptive Skills are also often called the 4C’s and are developed in the areas of Communication (especially oral communication), Critical Thinking, Creativity and Collaboration.
These skills are well known as those highly valued by employers and are best formed through practice in the context of the more traditional school disciplines.
Please find following a link to a report on my study leave and an appendix that outlines the material studied in my course at Harvard.