SHIFTING THE FOCUS IN SCHOOLS
Last week I attended a conference for independent school leaders titled “Growing Teachers, Transforming Schools” organized by the Association of Independent Schools NSW. The educators at this conference were challenged with the notion of changing schools to meet the vast needs of a rapidly changing world. Simon Breakspear, one of the main presenters, emphasized how the formation of the human being doesn’t change, however the end game is shifting all the time. Our goal in schools should be to assure our students will thrive in 2032 with absolute confidence.
So, what does the “next generation of learning” look like? Dr Breakspear said “average is over” - everyone needs to find their extra—their unique– value contribution. He called this the “Skill Shift Accelerator” where skill will no longer be measured on content knowledge but rather on abilities in areas such as creativity, initiative, collaboration, empathy and resilience. Motivation to learn will come from learning for oneself rather than another (teacher). He then challenged schools and teachers to focus on knowing their students, being themselves passionate learners, embracing error as a positive force in learning, creating beautiful learning environments, offering choice in learning, and creating a shared culture where we accept that “we are all in this together’”. Hmmm….this is a familiar description for those of us who embrace the principles of Dr Montessori. I hope many of you recognize how the model of education at Montessori East, while based on principles developed in the last century, are actually cutting edge for early 21st Century schooling.