Increasingly, parents, universities and employers are looking for the all-important soft skills that help children develop into well-rounded young adults. One aspect of the education we offer is that of independence. Today 22 students are out in Pattaya , Thailand travelling independently of their families for the first time to participate in the Nord Anglia Global Games. Nick West will provide more feedback next week on this.
Early Years children daily take those independent steps as they grow in understanding of themselves, their environment and the people around them. Older students are sometimes given time off timetable to engage in independent learning about their subjects. Increasingly, they will be thinking about university destinations, choosing country, city, courses to further their studies. Opportunities to learn independently, as well as interdependently, are a vital part of all good schools as they prepare young people for a life in which they are the principle decision makers, as responsible adults. It never takes place overnight but rather is through the accumulation of small but determined steps towards that goal. Each person will respond differently to the opportunities – one or two people are exactly alike. The skill of teachers is to nurture each individual student.
And this is something recently celebrated in the annual Teachers’ Day celebration. The time and attention to developing character, care and commitment was apparent in the celebration. Do read Nick Lee’s article for more of that in the Secondary Section.
It is worth noting too that in both Primary and Secondary we have renamed ‘Homework’. We are developing a deep passion for inquiry, knowledge and learning in students, in essence a love of learning to last them a lifetime. Homework, now called ‘Independent Study’, at least in our documentation, is a way for students to explore, to challenge and understand themselves better, how they learn, what their interests are and how effective they can be. There is a more widely held view in some schools that homework is often just as a surrogate babysitter, keeping children busy without necessarily engaging their minds. At BVIS, we use all manner of techniques to help students grow in a passion for learning and to be able to do so independently, producing quality output that shows engagement and a depth of thinking. Indeed, the brain is a like a muscle; it needs exercising in order for it to do what will be required of it later.
Children – and maybe parents too – need to appreciate the value of the task not just the outcome, in developing perseverance and patience. These are great soft skills for the future. And we are committed to helping develop them now.
Mr. Mark Sayer - Principal