I know we are supposed to learn from the journey and not focus on the destination too much but that doesn’t seem to work when you are on the highway with children in the car!
It does not matter that our cars are air-conditioned, that headphones can end the argument about what we will listen to on the trip, that we have onboard video players… this question is a part of life in our world.
What if we used the same question for a different destination – education. Are we there yet?
Have our schools evolved so that they are capable and willing to offer the kind of education that today’s and tomorrow’s students will need to have for a “fighting chance” of success in their post-school lives?
Has St Columba done all it can to offer the very best in modern education?
While St Columba’s academic, cultural and sporting results place it close to the “top of the pile”, this question is one that is a constant refrain in the minds of our School’s leaders, and ensures that we do not take our successes for granted.
As we look to the future we ask ourselves:
- Do we do the things we do because they’re better for kids or because they are easier for us?
- Separating kids by age in school. Is that something we do because kids learn better that way? Or do we do it because it’s just an easier way of organising our work?
- Do kids learn better when we separate out the content into different subjects, or is it just easier for us?
- Do kids learn better when we have every one of them pretty much go through the same curriculum in the same way, or is it just easier for us?
- Do kids learn better when we have them turn off all of their technology in school, or is it just easier for us?
- Do kids learn better when we assess them all the same way, or is it just easier for us?
- Do kids learn better when we decide what they should learn and how they should learn it, or is it just easier for us?
- Do kids learn better in 50 or 90 minute blocks, or is it just easier for us?
“Given our devotion to an overstuffed curriculum, standardized tests, University and career readiness and more, about the only way we can see our students navigating the school experience is to “teach” it, to organize it, pace it, and assess it in some way that allows us to confer the adjective “educated” to each student. This despite the obvious truth that the vast majority of what we “learn” in school is quickly forgotten, and the truest “education” for our life’s work comes on the job, not in school.” – We’re Trying To Do “The Wrong Thing Right” in Schools.
Observations like this are uncomfortable for schools because they could cause us to think about whether we are only paying lip-service to changing education to meet the needs of our students in this new and rapidly evolving world. Common sense tells us that if the work is changing, schools need to change to serve the needs of the students and our society. This appeals to common sense, but are we doing things any differently in schools, or are we wedded to what makes us comfortable because it worked “in the past”?
No, SCAS is not “there” yet, but we are dedicated to finding the best ways to get “there” and will not rest on our laurels or seek comfort in the hope that what has worked in the past will work tomorrow. We will keep what is valuable from our traditions (literacy, numeracy, social skills), learn from the lessons of the past, and move beyond “educational fads” to develop a school that really serves its purpose: To offer a world of opportunity to its students.