The Week Ahead 15 March 2019
18 March 2019
Dear parents It will not have escaped the attention of many that next week sees the annual musical production, West Side Story. I wrote a couple of weeks ago about the impact such productions have on the all-round education of young people, specifically helping to build their self-confidence, teamwork and an understanding of how to develop oneself whilst taking risks. I meet many employers in my role, and one question I always ask is: what are the qualities you are looking for in your next recruit to your business? The answer invariably focuses on core skills – life skills, if you prefer – over and above levels of knowledge acquisition. The most common responses are that successful candidates need to show confidence, an ability to work collaboratively and a genuine commitment to the values and ethos of the business. The one thing no one has ever mentioned to me when I asked this question? Examination results. Of course, the pursuit of academic goals is not to be underestimated. Great results facilitate access to the world’s leading universities, and reflect an ability to learn, to process information and (crucially) to thrive under the pressure of examinations, but they are no guarantee of a successful career. I am always delighted to hear of all the great university offers our pupils in Year 13 have attracted, but equally I am aware that this stage is just that – one step in the next phase of their lives. They need to leave us armed with more than just a graduation certificate and outstanding results; they need to be ready for the world around them. In this sense, an education which promotes wider ways of learning for young people, encompassing an understanding of the ‘self’ as well as the books that they read, is essential in arming our graduates for a world beyond Wellington. I mentioned Yural Harari’s book 21 Lessons for the 21st Century last week, and he too shares this sense that learners need to develop an awareness of who they really are – instead of who social media and peer pressure tell them they should be. “To succeed at such a daunting task, you will need to work very hard at getting to know your operating system better—to know what you are and what you want from life. This is, of course, the oldest advice in the book: know thyself. For thousands of years philosophers and prophets have urged people to know themselves. But this advice was never more urgent than in the twenty-first century, because unlike in the days of Laozi or Socrates, now you have serious competition. Coca-Cola, Amazon, Baidu, and the government are all racing to hack you. Not your smartphone, not your computer, and not your bank account; they are in a race to hack you and your organic operating system. You might have heard that we are living in the era of hacking computers, but that’s not even half the truth. In fact, we are living in the era of hacking humans.” This is a daunting prospect for parents, teachers and pupils alike. It shifts the emphasis away from a traditional exam-focused education to one which accommodates a more holistic approach. Preparing our young people for the future lies at the heart of the education here at Wellington. It is in that context that we continue to pursue challenging projects like West Side Story and the Interim art exhibition [see below]. As you prepare to come and share in these exhilarating events, please reflect a little on the journey these pupils have been on to reach this point. They will, I am sure, surprise and delight you with the quality of their work and performances, but at the heart of it all lies a self-confidence and a willingness to challenge themselves that will help to set these young people apart from the herd once they move on from school. Best wishes Julian Jeffrey MASTER As a bilingual school it is important for our school community to have an understanding of bilingual education and how it is delivered here in Tianjin. During our parent briefing last Wednesday, 13th March 2019, the focus was on bilingual education and the main questions discussed were:
- What are the lifelong benefits of Bilingual education?
- How is Bilingual education delivered in the Nest?
- What can we do to support Bilingual education?
- The critical period of language learning
- Dominant languages and weak languages
- Progress and regression of languages
- How to keep learning English and Mandarin in a bilingual environment