Thank you to everyone involved in organizing and preparing for the Class of 2017 Graduation. Students and parents appeared to have enjoyed the ceremony. I'd also like to thank all teachers who attended the ceremony because this is important for students and parents as it creates a feeling of togetherness and caring that is important for strengthening our community.
Leading up to this graduation I calculated that this was the 35th set of students that I have seen complete their secondary education. While reflecting upon this, the question came to my mind, as it often does, are we preparing our students well enough for their futures? I thought about this long and hard whilst writing and rewriting what I wanted to say to the Class of 2017 last night. I concluded that until around 2000 I believe we were doing less harm to our graduating classes by allowing a post industrial model for education pedagogy, curriculum and systems to frame our work. I say less harm only because the world, although changing relatively quickly, had not fully realized the potential of the technology that was beginning to emerge and dismissed projections like Singularity as being science fiction and the thinking of dreamers. In 2000, the employment market was still fairly predictable in the short term, so for graduates the impact of technology was still relatively distant. No-one realized how quickly this was about the change. However, since 2000 it has become increasing obvious that the world and many of the things held true before 2000 would not be valid by 2017.
For all of us involved in education we have reached a point where the education system, founded in the 1880's, that shaped us, our parent community, our parents, their parents and their parents before them is unsurprisingly no longer valid. It was designed for an industrial age which no longer fits developed countries and potentially within the next decade will not even be appropriate for newly industrializing nations. Its hidden curriculum was based upon uniformity, compliance, authority hierarchy's and control of information, all of which we know will not serve our future graduates for their world. The longevity of this form of educational system, matched only by that of the penal system, is amazing, but says something about how resistant to sustained change education appears to be. For over 50 years we have been noticing and talking about the differences in generations, starting back with 'baby boomers' and yet we have not changed our education system to take into account the difference in our clientele's characteristics. Of course, we have tinkered on a small scale by experimenting with alternative pedagogy's, talking about differentiation, individualized learning and today personalized learning, but the overall accepted framework we keep returning to remains generally the same as it was in 1880. No matter how you look at it, we have not significantly adapted the school experience to the needs of our students and their futures.
And, here we are today. Having enjoyed 30 years of liberal, democratic globalization that has impacted the overall well-being of the majority of the worlds inhabitants we are potentially facing a challenge to this political view. Although impacting well-being in general the changes brought about through a more globalized world have not been equally shared within nations and between nations. As we have seen in the past nine months this has the potential to change political outlooks in both developing and more economically developed countries. Are our graduates equally as well prepared for a world of nationalism and protectionism as they are for the liberalized global world that has shaped the last 30 years? I'm not sure they are. Are any of us? The 1930's are a long time ago and the generation that remembers those days is fast disappearing. This is why last evening I chose to talk to the Class of 2017 about making a difference. Not perhaps in the sense that we at international schools often encourage, going out and doing some service activities, but rather in the sense of being an activist, not just a servant. If we want our students to be creative innovators, challenging authority, seeking truth, speaking out, standing up for what is right and shaping their world then they need to be educated to be different. At which point I return to ask the question does our education system today do this for our students?
You are probably thinking, has Adrian woken up with a sore head today? This is all very negative. The answer is no, I haven't and quite the opposite, I'm actually in a very good mood. I see this more and more as a great opportunity for ISHCMC to be the best school in the universe. Just thinking about the possibilities re-energizes and engages me with education. The whole definition of school needs changing and I believe that what we are and will be doing in your classrooms and with the classroom environments is exactly what is needed. We still have a way to go but we have started our journey. Everything I read and watch tells me we are on the right path. We have work to do to adapt the IB curricular to serve our progressive needs better but am am confident with so many good practitioners working collaboratively we can do this. I believe this is about re framing our curricular, not throwing it out. We need to reflect upon how we plan and think about putting the growth and AtL of skills for the future at the forefront of what we teach rather that as an often forgotten adjunct. If we can successfully identify a core set of AtL and personal growth and developments skills that can be scope and sequenced across 15 years of education I feel we will be in a far better position to honestly say, and validate, that we have prepared ALL of our students who graduate from ISHCMC for whatever challenges they might face in the world beyond school. If we do this well I am sure it will be a transferable model that other schools can follow as it will not be dependent on content or type of curriculum. It will not mean reinventing the wheel because there are already lots of models we can use, as i shared in last week's post, but it is an area we need to move forward with for both sections of our school.
This thinking reminded me of a school in New Zealand that I shared before but want to use again to remind ourselves that there are many others going in the same direction and not all are stand alone international schools. The school is Hobson Ville Point Secondary school. Food for thought would not be the same without a video or two. So here are 10 minutes of insight into Hobson Point Secondary. The first is very much from a students point of view. The second is from a visitors. As you are about to see there is nothing original about ours or their thinking. We share very common visions for both education and learning environments. They are just a bit further ahead because their school has been open several years and ours is still being completed.
This is a promotional video but has students talking about their learning experience.
This is from the point of view of a visitor.
An exciting time to be in education
Have a good Sunday,