Head’s Blog – Glass Half Full?

I wonder whether you consider yourself to be a glass half full, or a glass half empty person.  I expect we all want to think we are the former.  I am lucky to work with someone who is always so positive about life, finding the best in everything, that she says she is just grateful to have a glass at all!

During this lockdown it is easy to see the problems and to worry, but I think there will be many positive outcomes too.  Firstly, I’ve been so impressed with the quality of work that many pupils have been completing at home. Most of them seem to be working just as hard as they do in school, producing very high standards of work, which demonstrates their positive attitudes to their studies and their enthusiasm for learning.  What’s more, this ability to adapt and just keep on going is simply brilliant!

I have equally enjoyed seeing photographs of the children’s creativity and also a very entertaining short video from 3SB which you can see below. (We’d love to see more of these if you want to get creative with iMovie on the iPads, etc.)

When we have prospective parents at the school asking me about what we consider to be the most important aspects of a good education today, one thing that I always talk about is adaptability. The world is changing so fast and perhaps during this coronavirus lockdown it is changing faster than ever. The ability to adapt, to learn new strategies, to learn how to use new technology and how to communicate remotely are all very much a part of this and help our children to be prepared for the future.

I think that our pupils have demonstrated that, almost without exception, they are developing these skills supremely well and as a result, the changes and challenges that will come their way in the future will be far easier to navigate.  In fact, for all of us, I’m sure a great deal of learning has taken place over the last few weeks to get our working lives online too.  It will be interesting to see the positive long term societal changes that this unprecedented lockdown will bring.

I wonder whether you have seen ‘Shift Happens’ on YouTube.  The first version was released in 2008, and it was a wake up call for me.  I started thinking more about how we prepare children for a rapidly changing future and this was the driver behind embedding information technology into our curriculum.  The impact that technology has on our developed world has changed phenomenally in the last couple of decades, and whether we like it or not, this exponential change will continue to accelerate.  In 1965, computer scientist Gordon Moore, (co-founder of Intel), described what became known as Moore’s Law, that the power of a computer microchip would double every two years.  This meant that over a 20-year period, the power of computers would increase a million times.  In reality the change has been even faster.   Helping children to embrace technology and ride this wave of change is certainly one of the positives from this remote learning necessity, because by 2040 the world will have ‘shifted’ hugely again.

Below is a link to the latest ‘Shift Happens’ (updated in 2018).  It is thought provoking, and I would suggest it’s worth 5 minutes of your day to watch.  The truth is, through their education and life experiences, we are preparing our children for jobs that don’t even exist yet.

When William Butler Yeats, in the late 19th century, wrote that ‘education is not about filling buckets, but it is about lighting fires’, he could never have predicted that his comment would be engraved on coffee cups, and be quoted in calendars, more than 100 years later. But he was absolutely right.  When 7 year olds are excitedly showing their teachers and parents how to use Firefly, showing us things we hadn’t even understood, a fire has certainly been lit and I start to feel optimistic about some of the benefits that lockdown is having.

Although this period is difficult in many ways, I’m sure we will look back on it as a period of time when the world shifted a little towards a future reality and that our children’s education, through online learning, was actually a positive part of that experience.

Glass half full, or glass half empty?

Marcus Culverwell


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