I have spoken to students, staff and parents over the last two weeks about my core belief in the ability of every student to achieve high grades.
Everyone is familiar with the story of Einstein´s education. He was slow to learn to talk. He struggled with the style of teaching at school, was eventually expelled and he failed an entrance exam to a Polytechnic school. What Einstein´s story teaches teachers and parents is so obvious yet often forgotten. That each student has limitless brilliance within them. That with the right questions, a variety of targeted and successful teaching and learning strategies and self belief comes exceptional academic achievement. Of course, hard work and commitment go hand in hand with this. Einstein´s genius manifested predominantly at school in his problem solving. He was creative and persistent. He taught himself advanced Geometry by the age of 12. His teachers failed to notice because they did not look beyond and see the individual in front of them. They applied assessment criteria which was restrictive and unenlightened. Thanks to rote style learning, an inflexible exam system and teachers who thought him arrogant and boastful, Einstein´s genius was ignored at school.
Noam Chomsky, the educationalist and philosopher, wrote that “Education must provide the opportunities for self fulfillment. It should at best provide a rich and challenging environment for the individual to explore, in his or her own way.” When this environment is created, academic success follows implicitly in its wake. My goal is to work tirelessly with the staff of BIC in order to ensure that those educational conditions within which students most thrive are created and maintained, relentlessly and passionately.
The vehicles through which we achieve this are many within a school context. Primary/Secondary transition, Assessment, EAL and Literacy Co-ordination, an excellent and cherished House System, a strong set of Sport and Arts programmes, a broad and deep Extra Curricular offer, Educational Research development, wider community events and engagement, are a very few of the ´hows´. Parental support is crucial and I was clear in my webinar when I stated to parents that the best thing that they can do to support their children´s independent learning is to encourage a sense of Stoicism and tenacity, a love of reading and avoidance of Social Media and Gaming at all costs! In further communication I will share and pinpoint strategies for learning, teaching and supporting at home, as well as examples of successful teaching tools being used excitedly in the classroom.
The development of the whole student is something which is core to my educational philosophy. Something so often not at the forefront of schools´ priorities as it so often gets overlooked in the frantic preparation of students for exams and high grades. Once again, high academic achievement and the holistic development of a student´s character is one and the same. It is this which furnishes them with the skills set which allows them to deal with pressure, allows them to feel at peace, joyful and self aware. To be the rounded, driven empathetic and strong young people our world and humanity so desperately need.