Making Changes

Making Changes (2)

Saturday, 19 August 2017 15:31

I'd Like To

Written by

Jane Goodall2

A few years ago a friend mentioned that an eleven year old boy in primary school where she taught would like to learn Latin. I'd studied Classics at university and was happy to teach him but he lived in a town about 100km away. Simple solution the Internet! And it's all going very well sharing Documents in Google Drive and connecting on Hangout for a 40 minute session each week.

It reminded me of when I was 4, I told our landlady who lived next door  that I'd like to learn the piano but my parents couldn't afford to pay for lessons. She said she'd teach me! Almost 70 years later I'm still playing as well as composing and exploring new interests in computer generated music.

When I was 11 we were living in Mornington (VIC) where my dad played in the local brass band. One of the band members was an award winning water colour artist. I'd developed a fascination with artworks during our visits to relatives in Sydney. I used to wander off on my own to the NSW Art Gallery sitting, looking and imagining a world I'd never seen. So I told the band player artist I'd like to paint. He said he'd teach me! When I went to high school I said I'd like to do art, but was told I wasn't allowed as only girls did art. However my mother thought this was absurd given that most famous artists were male. So she confronted the headmaster and as it turned out another mother was presenting the same argument for her son. We won!

Being a working class kid I was all geared to get out of school by the age of 15. No one in the family had taken further education before. But thanks to a few wonderful teachers I found myself exploring and discovering a whole new world of ideas, especially in history and mathematics.

So I said to my parents I'd Like to go university. They said what you do with your life is your choice and we support you. However, they couldn't afford to pay the fees so the only way I could do that was to get a Commonwealth Scholarship. And I did!

I'd planned to major in Mathematics but I had also taken Ancient History along with Philosophy and Zoology (strange choices, I know; but fascinating) and again inspired by wonderful teachers I wanted to major in Ancient History. But to do that back then you had to study Ancient Greek and Latin. I hadn’t studied any foreign languages at school I didn’t qualify for entry to languages at university. Not one to give up on things easily I persisted to find a way. I gained special permission to enrol in Elementary Greek and Mr O.N.Kelly, the teacher, agreed to teach me Latin as well.

It was summer vocation when I started Latin. Mr Kelly posted to me copies of the text books he had written for Latin in Australian Schools. As I progressed through the exercises I'd post them to him and he would correct them and post them back, with his fee written at the bottom, calculated on the time it took him to mark them. The one shilling and sixpence he usually charged showed he was either a speed reader or very generous. I think the latter! For lessons on pronunciation I'd go to a public phone (we didn't have one at home) and ring him. I remember I used to say 'sort of' a lot until during one of our phone sessions he said : the statements you make are very clear and carefully thought out. So there's no need to say 'sort of'. And I stopped saying it, not because I was embarrassed but because his praise gave me confidence.

Aged 25, glad I hadn’t left school 10 years before, I became cofounder and principal of an innovative senior secondary school in Sydney where as Chiron Student 1975-76 Tim Gottersons,Barrister, Finance Lawyer and Banker, puts it:

"I believe my experience at Chiron gave me a great sense self control and personal strength. It opened my mind to endless opportunities and different ways of looking at issues. I have always thought that this gave me a huge head start on others who were educated within a more ridged and narrow system."

Which brings me back to now. I'm about the same age as Mr Kelly was when he taught me!

Having found these wonderful opportunities throughout my life I want to encourage young people to discover their individuality and make their choices saying confidently

“I’d Like Too” 

 

 

Friday, 18 August 2017 15:48

Compliance or Engagement

Written by

It is our curiosity that awakens our desire to learn. The desire is the motivation. When nurtured it drives us to engage with others seeking to understand and through that process learn techniques for learning how-to-learn.

The end result builds self confidence, self esteem and the desire to achieve more and the ability to think independently.

In his book DRIVE : The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us

Daniel Pink identifies 3 elements of the true motivation

  • Autonomy - the desire to direct our own life
  • Mastery - the urge to get better and better at something that matters
  • Purpose - the yearning to do what we do in the service of something larger than ourselves

More positive and lasting outcomes result from ENGAGEMENT.

RSA ANIMATE: Drive: The surprising truth about what motivates us

But our system of education valuing conformity and control is holding back the realization of what engages and motivates young people today :  

  • Dropout Rates in Schools & Colleges

More and more young people are becoming disengaged from learning not because of lack of potential but because they find it personally repressive and for the most part irrelevant.

  • Conformity or Individuality

Governments continue to impose the conservative regulations that cause this problem and they do so ignoring the advice from business experts as well as forward thinking educationalists who are saying that education is not providing learning programs in ways that relate to living in today’s world.

  • Examination or Exploration

In developed countries students’ interest in exploration and understanding has diminished . The focus for many has turned to learning only what will be examined. Students need to be engaged in new ways. The new skills required today are better demonstrated through activity and productivity, not by examinations.

 

Time to develop a New Approach to Education for Young People

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