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Firming Up Your Resolve?

12 January 2018

Did you make a new year’s resolution this year? I did. Twelve days later I have already fallen away (you may already have detected this in my waistline if you squeeze past me at the school gates in the morning).


However, there is good news: another ‘New Year’ is not far away! We all get the chance to firm up our resolve once more, armed with the knowledge that sometimes a second (or even third) effort is required to ‘get the job done’.

This is the same principle that underpins the learning that our students use in our brand new STEAM centres. Globally, it is called ‘Design Thinking’ and in a nutshell it is a process that takes students away from a ‘first past the post’ approach to learning so often summarized in the young child’s gleeful cry, “Finished!”. Instead, Design Thinking supports students’ understanding that they must prototype and evaluate their work repeatedly, since it might only be the 5th or 6th iteration of their product that can be deemed to have met the standard required.

This is such a valuable life lesson. We all benefit from evaluating our work and questioning how we might improve the quality of what we do, or the value of what we produce. Our students are lucky enough to develop this mature approach to learning and productivity at a very young age, in our Primary School Da Vinci Centre, or in a very sophisticated manner, in our Secondary Hamilton Centre. 

This week, Year 7 secondary students have been furiously working, collaborating, prototyping, evaluating and re-prototyping as they have risen to the challenge of transporting a fragile egg safely in a motorized vehicle that they have designed and built. Failures have been followed by successes and lesson have been learnt. 

Nurturing attitudes such as these, where young people wrestle with a problem until it is solved, where the first solution is understood to not necessarily be the best or final attempt, and where cognitive pennies can ‘drop’ as an understanding of applied learning is gained, are the very foundations of a successful future. And who knows, maybe one day they will see having two ‘New Year’ moments to re-apply their resolve will not feel so much like a failure, but more like the natural and irresistible journey towards reaching a much desired goal.

Dr Neil Hopkin FRSA, Principal