Jeff Paulson on...
I believe that your school learning experience is a benchmark for learning throughout the rest of your life. And in 2017, that matters. We live in a fast-moving and ever-changing world in which resilience, open-mindedness, creativity and reflectiveness – the essential character traits of a succesful learner – will be core to building a career.
As educators, that fact is always in our minds – and we are not alone in this. Universities and employers are also focused on these character traits – indeed, a recent report from ManpowerGroup found that 91 per cent of HR decision-makers thought that the ability to deal with change and uncertainty would be key to recruitment.
That is why ZIS students are taught (because it is a skill that must be taught and then practised) how to learn, how to think for themselves and how to become creative problem-solvers.
We are supported in this aim by our international school status, which keeps us agile. Rather than being tied to a national curriculum, we can adapt quickly, selecting the courses proven to be the most effective and that will best prepare our students for a rapidly-changing and international future.
The new Learning First curriculum is a perfect example, enabling us to build on our 50-year heritage and focus on the key character traits and values that will prepare our students to thrive professionally and personally. We are proud that external accreditation recognizes our experience and expertise and, happily, the success of our alumni speaks for itself.
So, education in 2017 simply can’t – and shouldn’t – repeat what worked when we were at school. In fact, all parents want to ensure that their children are properly equipped to take advantage of new opportunities, and we’re grateful to the many parents who were kind enough to take part in the recent ZIS Partners Survey. The results, shared with our parent community earlier this year, have given us much to build on.
What is clear is that in the future it is not simply the ability to recall facts – freely available at the press of a key – that will win, but the ability to evaluate those facts. That doesn’t mean, by the way, that we are abandoning our focus on academic achievement – this, including stellar test results and first class university admissions, defines success.
But it does mean we will continue to put the emphasis on conceptual enquiry, on independent thought and on a growth mindset – on the tools, in other words, that will equip our students to be learners for the rest of their lives.