A Culture of Courage
Mr Geoff Lancaster | Principal | Grammar News | 14th August 2020
Over the last three weeks my newsletter articles have been focussing on the five key areas of culture that I believe are foundational to help St Luke’s students to flourish, namely: Excellence, Collaboration, Kindness, Courage and Curiosity.
A Culture of Courage
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9
It is an exciting time for education. 40 or 50 years ago teachers taught behind closed doors in the way they were trained or perhaps the way that they were taught. We now have access to transformational research informing educational practice - evidence based approaches that help our students learn more effectively. There is also a plethora of data to help us understand where students are on the learning journey and we all have access to current expert knowledge in seconds. Over the last decade there have been many questions asked of traditional education, one of the most pertinent being “What is important in learning when everything is googleable?” As teachers and learners we don’t want to waste time using unproductive methods, but it also takes courage to change.
“The underlying principle is that learning is maximised when learners are presented with appropriately challenging material, rather than being under-challenged by what they already know or over-challenged by what they are not yet ready to learn.” (NSW Curriculum Review, p. xv)
The recently released NESA curriculum review is focussed on building essential skills in literacy and numeracy and then focuses on providing opportunities for students to develop deep understanding and integrate knowledge and skills. The expression ‘Deep Learning’ in educational parlance refers to the process of acquiring future focussed competencies, the 6Cs of character, citizenship, collaboration, communication, creativity and critical thinking. Our LEARNING@STLUKE’S framework is closely mapped to these competencies and provides a common language and approach that can be intentionally implemented by staff and students.
The purpose of this work is to draw together all that is best in teaching and learning and provide opportunities for our students to fulfil our belief that each one of our students has the potential to change the world. This requires more than academic excellence as it takes courage and a solutions focussed mindset to take a risk, challenge the status quo and find solutions to problems that may not yet exist. The School should be a place where students feel safe to take risks in their learning and to try new things without fear of failure, a place where they might discover their passion.
“If we want learners who can thrive in turbulent and complex times, apply thinking to new situations and change the world, then we must re imagine learning; what's important to be learned, how is learning fostered, where learning happens and how we measure success.” (Deep Learning - Fullan, Quinn & McEachen, 2017)
For a number of years there has been a groundswell of change in our education system. As a school we need to be at the forefront of change and not be left behind. This doesn’t mean we unthinkingly jump aboard every new idea, but it does mean we need to be able to adjust to changes that will benefit our students. We need to be willing to model risk taking to our students so they are courageous in their learning. We will need to be innovative, agile and entrepreneurial to thrive as a school and we need our students to be innovative, agile and entrepreneurial to thrive in the future workplace.