Classrooms and school buildings are not the only places where learning takes place in the education of the child. As teachers and parents, we need to make sure that our children have a variety of stimulating experiences in the world around us. These are sometimes managed and controlled by schools, by families and by individual students. For example, breaking away from the routine of the school timetable to take part in a sports competition or a themed day of activities gives children the opportunity to enjoy learning in a different context. Going on a day trip or special visit in the locality, shows how learning opportunities are there on our doorstep. All we have to do is open our eyes to the experiences. Engaging in a residential activity trip or fieldwork exercise allows students to be challenged in their physical as well as their intellectual aptitude. Green Camp and the Biology fieldtrip are good examples of these types of activities.
They key to success in learning beyond the classroom is to have an open mindset rather than a fixed mindset. Those with an open mindset are confident and adaptable leaners. They are less focused on being recognised for what they can do and more focused on overcoming the challenges that face them. They have the perseverance to overcome barriers and be able to achieve what they want to achieve.
They recognise that their limitations are only temporary and that by hard work and determination, they can be whatever they want to be. On the flip side are those with a fixed mindset who are more inward looking and have the view that they can do no wrong. They are invaluable and others should respect their views without question.
At The British School, Warsaw I see teachers and students who have a sense of community and shared values to learn from each other. Our people are willing to listen to others and then adapt their thinking as required. They are open to change, open to challenge and open to new opportunities because they believe that nothing is fixed; everything can be developed and improved.
As we enter the final weeks of term, there are many opportunities for our students to work in collaboration with their teachers both inside and outside the classroom. The successful student will embrace and engage with these opportunities and, by maintaining an open mindset, will enter a new phase in their development to prepare them for the challenges of the new academic year in September.
Dr Terry Creissen OBE