We have seen the notion of ‘success’ change and look different every few years. In speaking with many of our students regarding their future career choices, they are wanting to live and work overseas, travel as part of their job, pursue a career that marries with their interests and abilities, enjoy earning potential not capped by a salary figure, connect and work with peers across the globe, outsource things they don’t like doing and choose their own hours and office spaces.
In drilling down to find out how they intend to access these career pathways, their answer is surprisingly simple and encapsulated by one of my favourite educationalists, Sir Ken Robinson (Out of Our Minds 2011) when he observes that ‘The more complex the world becomes, the more creative we need to be to meet its challenges’. What is abundantly clear to our students is they need to be creative to be successful.
Teaching for Understanding ignites a student’s curiosity and furnishes our students with the skills needed to succeed and opportunities to grow the confidence to practice those skills. With so much information readily available to students via the internet, our College teachers focus on helping students to make sense of information, share it and use it in smart ways. Creativity in teaching practices has allowed students to be challenged to think about information in new ways, make new connections and come up with innovative solutions to problems. Taught explicitly; the ability to think critically, as well as communicating and collaborating with peers across cohorts and year levels is about teamwork and that the collective genius of a group that is more than the sum of its parts.
Over the past five years at the College, we have seen the incorporation of entrepreneurship into our curriculum as well as opportunities for students to increase their emotional intelligence (EQ) through Service-learning – both critical keys to successful work and relationships. The bottom line – Teaching and Learning at A.B. Paterson College is about empowering students with transferable skills that will hold up in a rapidly changing world.
Our students are increasingly advanced users of technology. We have Generation Z – born between 1995 and 2009, who experienced early life without the internet, yet have had technology like smartphones, iPads, smartboards and other devices available throughout most of their schooling. We also have Generation Alpha – born since 2010 – who are younger than smartphones, the iPad, 3D television, Instagram, and music streaming apps like Spotify.
Growing up with this level of technology means growing up with an unprecedented amount of information at their fingertips. Our students are more inquisitive and tech savvy than most and can teach themselves anything (care-of YouTube). They are digital natives, as comfortable using apps and code as their grandparents were flipping pages.
At the same time, they are also the most intentionally internationally connected. They encounter people online from all over the world, and easily network with students globally who can assist them with preparation towards entrance exams to university, assist with work or debating – the list is endless.
The students at our College are skilled with technology and comfortable with global and intercultural communication. With holidays a few short weeks away, it is a good time to be thankful for and reflect on their capacity to think critically and creatively, to collaborate with others, and to communicate clearly; skills that set our students up for success beyond the College.
Assistant Principal and Head of Senior School