This is the education at Diocesan we aspire to...
As Cindy Lauper sang a few years ago, there is nothing better than seeing a person’s true colours shine through. As educators, this is what we do – we create the vision for our young people to discover and explore the depths of their own capability and find their passion. The hot debate, is over how this happens, and in many cases, why it does not. Parents and teachers today are overwhelmed with theories about learning and just as in many other aspects of human development, what is innovative, hardly ever is.
There are myriads of learning theories based on metacognitive stimulation such as learning styles, thinking hats and smart thinking. All promulgated as innovations in education. There is the brain theory team that examines in minute detail the left and right side of the brain, our cognitive pathways and concludes that school isn’t so good because most of the pathways develop well before children attend. Then, there is the school of thought about what is missing promoted by Sir Ken Robinson who believes that our current education systems are so stuffy they remove the natural creativity of children and replace it with compliance. Even technologies have not helped this situation.
Then along came innovative learning environments implemented in many schools as a solution to give intellectual credibility to an architectural and no doubt financial solution to schooling provision. There is little evidence that students left to their own devices, know what they don’t know, can find out what they don’t know, or know what to do with what they do know. Leaving spaces open for learning is presumptive and like other so-called innovations, belies the complexity of education which is a much bigger concept than mere schooling.
Education is a complex interaction of schools, cultures and communities where highly skilled and articulate teachers in planned and directed environments explore the full range of human experiences that enables us to be our true colours. There is more to life than knowledge, more to a successful future than money, and more to leading than being out the front. While knowledge is important, a comprehensive education provides much more.
An education that builds true colours starts with the primary ones that help our young people choose a life of value with respect for themselves and all those around them. Explorations of ethics, values and world views in realistic contexts, guided and challenged in safe environments are the core to building great young people. Debate and argument are expected, failure is an accepted part of achievement, and highly skilled educators know that the most important aspect of learning lies in building the relationships that support human interaction and growth.
This is the education at Diocesan we aspire to – and there is no one-stop innovation that sums this up. When each young person discovers what they believe in, what they will stand up for, their sense of self, they find an inner strength and resilience that enables them to face the realities of a changing world. In being more than they ever imagined, they add much more colour to their lives – what shines through are their own true colours.