One of the biggest themes of the meeting was Nord Anglia Education’s mission to inspire all our students, teachers and communities to be ambitious. The “Be Ambitious” philosophy is new this year across our global community of forty-two schools. However, the ideas and thinking it represents are not. “Be Ambitious” is not just a slogan, it is a way of thinking about the world. While I believe that our school is a fine example of what people can achieve when we are ambitious, I see a deep relationship between learning and ambition which I would like to explore further in a later letter.
Meanwhile, the essential thinking behind “Be Ambitious” is this: we believe there is, with focus and effort, no limit to what our students can achieve. Carol Dweck called this as having a ‘Growth Mindset’, rather than having a ‘Fixed Mindset’. We therefore ensure that every child’s learning is personalized and is enhanced through providing the appropriate opportunities and support. Beyond the real effort and resilience required of our students, success requires the belief that almost anything is possible (the ‘Growth Mindset’). With this belief firmly rooted, our students are not afraid to reach for their dreams. They are not afraid to take a risk and try something new. They are curious, and they are inspired to reach further and dream bigger.
This philosophy is evident every day in our school. It is evident on the soccer field, where our teams continue to demonstrate tremendous teamwork and determination. It is evident on our ‘student success’ display outside the Library, where students (and staff) are featured for the work they’ve done that has led to success above and beyond their classroom achievements.
It is also evident in what our students and our entire community are doing to help raise money for service work in Tanzania this year. Since the group of students headed to Tanzania was chosen in September, the group has been ambitious in their fundraising goals. Our community has been ambitious in their efforts to support this group, too. Next Tuesday, our community will come together for a ‘Paint Night’ event which will raise money for our service work in Tanzania. And these efforts will help spread the “Be Ambitious” philosophy around the world.
The efforts our students made last year in Tanzania, to help develop a sustainable garden site in a remote Maasai village, have already sparked ambition in the villagers, and a few have gone on to study how to spread this idea throughout their communities.
I look forward to seeing all that this year’s Tanzania group will achieve, and thoroughly enjoy seeing the many wonderful things your children achieve in our classrooms, in their after-school activities and at home every day.