First time Blogger!
This blog (my first!) allows me to communicate my thoughts while planning and preparing for a new college. My hope is to elicit feedback through responses from a number of different people, including future stakeholders of the College. It is a digital forum that allows me to connect, engage and collaborate with those who have an interest in education, particularly those who will be joining the community of Catherine McAuley Catholic College, Medowie from 2021.
As the Blog title ‘Connect, Collaborate & Lead’ suggests, leading is a collaborative effort. Connecting with others allows me to share my thoughts and ideas, collaborate, seek feedback, learn and lead.
A new school is an opportunity to look forward and ask some challenging questions about how we best prepare our young people for a global world that is rapidly changing, including the nature of a changing workforce. This includes not only what jobs people do but how they do them. Is the traditional model of education, initially designed to prepare young people for a static occupational world, now relevant in a new digital age?
Planning for a new college can be overwhelming, so it is important to keep a few key considerations and driving questions in mind. This term I have been delving deeply into educational research and best practice and investigating what good innovative schools are doing. There is an incredible amount of information out there, many ‘ornaments’ for the tree, but it is important to focus on what is at the core, or ‘trunk’ of this tree! I am looking forward to connecting with the College community (particularly students and families) to listen to their thoughts on:
- What are their hopes and aspirations for their children?
- What are the values, mind-sets, skills, and capabilities they feel are important to lead a meaningful life in a fast-paced, rapidly changing and complex world?
- What do they believe are the qualities and ingredients of a great school?
My aim is to collaboratively work with others; leaders, teachers, parents and students, to co-design a college that provides an innovative educational environment that prepares young people for today’s world, not yesterday’s. Does the traditional model of education do this? Some would argue that it ranks potential rather than develop it.
The above quote by John Dewey challenges us to reimagine learning; a new school, a blank canvas, provides a unique opportunity to do this. I read a great book recently by Ted Dintersmith, ‘What School Could Be’ who wrote that:
“Innovation thrives when a community celebrates the aspirational goal of reimagining learning to elevate life prospects for its children”.
It takes a village … I am looking forward to connecting with the community to engage in conversations about this. This is the exciting beginning of an ongoing conversation and journey in establishing a new secondary college. One in which I am committed to ensuring prioritises the development of individual potential. This is not achieved by a learning culture that ‘teaches to the test’ but instead:
- identifies student strengths, motivations and passions
- personalises learning, particularly through leveraging technology, to nurture and develop these to assist young people find their purpose
- develops a self-awareness in students of who they are as unique individuals so they can identify their own learning pathway and be supported in pursuing this
- is learner-centred and empowers students through choice, voice and agency
- develops enterprise skills and capabilities, not only content knowledge, to thrive in today’s world &
- is real world and globally focused, linking with local industry and beyond
Thank you for reading. Your reflections, thoughts and feedback are welcome.
Dintersmith, Ted. (2018). “What School Could Be”.