Preparation for Life

For all educators who believe that school is about so much more than just the transmission of a body of knowledge to achieve academic (exam) results, then the questions and debates are always around what ‘more’ should realistically be, and how to make it as inclusive as possible – in other words, how to ensure that every student fulfils their potential.

If such educators are looking for the very best quality summer reading, then you could do a lot worse than this new report released on the website of the Wallace Foundation, USA. I’ve been a regular reader of material from this organisation over the years as they focus especially on thought-provoking research in to all aspects of Education leadership.

I’m just finishing reading the report and have found that it raised many questions in my mind. As it looks at the development phases at different age groups, it reinforces in my mind the folly of trying to focus on lots of ‘academics’ in the early years. Instead, semi-organised play that enables the children to build their social skills combined with lots of exposure to high quality language. Modest attention should be paid to the development of rudimentary self-management skills, though acknowledging that these will come easier to some than others initially. Control and the drilling of obedience don’t make sense. I believe they can have some choices about how to spend their time.

Yet again, in this report, the aspect of Mindset is seen as vitally important. I get concerned that we are a long way yet from teachers giving this due importance in the classroom, especially in the context of Indian pattern schools. Values are also critical – an area that i have long felt important and critical that we weave in to the learning experience of children.

An education that fails to prepare young people to excel when they emerge in to young adulthood is, in my view, little education at all. As educators we have an enormous responsibility that shouldn’t be underestimated. We can leave young people to their fate, patting ourselves on the back because we crammed there heads with some ‘stuff’ – or, we can take on the messy, complex and challenging responsibilities of equipping them with the skills, competencies, values to aspire to be the best they can be in all the various roles they will fulfil in society.

Foundations for Young Adult Success – Wallace Foundation Website
(Click on the link above to open the website page. There’s a link on the right side of the page to download the whole report.

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