Equipping Our Boys for the 21st Century
Since referring to education as a “passport” to the future at last week’s assembly and in the Hereworth weekly newsletter, a number of boys, parents and staff have asked me about the school I spent some time in a couple of years ago in Suzhou near Shanghai in China that had 4,500 boys and girls, including 500 boarders from farmlands in western China. Note: The lessons for these boys and girls began at 7.00am and did not end till 6.00pm, after which time they still had their homework to complete!
This time away enabled me to learn more about this amazing country, its culture, history and educational system, and see firsthand how it has undergone one of the most powerful economic transformations in the history of the world. I also came to understand the importance Chinese leaders, teachers and parents place on the education of their young people – a great education is so highly valued; it really is seen as the key to future success. At interviews I conducted for students wishing to come to Australia and New Zealand, the child, the parents and the two sets of grandparents were normally present. The focus was definitely on securing the best educational outcomes for the child/grandchild.
These types of experiences make us as teachers think carefully about the key skills required for the new global economy of the future and which should receive attention in our classrooms with our boys. Those skills include collaboration, accessing, analysing and validating information, effective oral and written communication, the ability to change and readjust one’s thinking, and a deeper understanding of the multi-cultural world in which we live.
As teachers we need to create learning opportunities for our boys that integrate these skills into their work and thus better prepare them for successful futures. The excursion for many of the boys to the exhibitions on display at MTG Napier with Mrs Kersten and Mrs Kasper, the lesson on growing bonsai trees with Mr McCorkell, the Māori art appreciation lesson with Ms Tuck (Phoenix Preece’s mother from Year 7 KF) and our participation in the Language Perfect Competition this past week with Mrs Kasper are just some examples of the many exceptional and varied learning experiences offered here at Hereworth.
These experiences better equip our boys to be global citizens – young men who are successful learners, are confident and creative individuals, technology literate, emotionally and socially able to cope with the dynamic changes that regularly occur in the world of today. The boys must develop an understanding of people and their cultures so that they can engage professionally, purposefully, meaningfully and respectfully in our own and in other countries in our region.
There is something quite special learning about other people, their culture and history so we can be a part of the global educational network of the world of today.
On the wall of that school in Suzhou is written the following Chinese proverb which translated states “If you are planning for a year, sow rice; if you are planning for a decade, plant trees; if you are planning for a lifetime, educate a child.”
Mrs Nicola Pentelow – our much admired, dedicated and loyal Executive Assistant will leave Hereworth on Friday 21 June to commence a similar role at Iona College. Mrs Pentelow has invested immense personal effort in the School. We are very grateful for her outstanding work in managing many of the day to day administrative operations of the School, including maintaining the School database and student records, looking after advertising and recruitment, preparing agendas for and minutes to meetings, organising marketing and promotional opportunities, liaising with and looking after special guests, overseeing our student enrolment processes, and providing exceptional support to me as Headmaster. She knows nearly every family of the Hereworth community and has been instrumental in expanding our relationships with families and people within the wider community. She has been a great ambassador for Hereworth. She will be greatly missed by us all.