HIGH SCHOOL – parents and schools together
Parents play a vital role as young people transition through the middle and senior years of schooling – attitudes and ways of thinking young people experience at home very much influence the attitudes and values they bring to their learning context at school.
Young people are growing up in a very different world, but the core values of what it takes to live life well remain unchanged. Where young people are hearing a consistency of message between home and school there is greater opportunity for growth.
What then are the important attributes we are looking to grow together? As young people engage with their learning in the schooling environment, they are developing important attributes that together with the skills and understanding they gain, will impact on their success in life.
If you asked a group of contemporary educational leaders what attributes young people would need in 2017 to be successful in a rapidly changing and evolving world, the following would be among the list.
- Passionate about what you are doing
- Having confidence, capacity and desire to drive their own learning
- Having a sense of curiosity
- Courage to try new things and to innovate
- Respect for people and having the capacity to collaborate without boundaries
- Perseverance and resilience to learn through mistakes and disappointments
- Having a desire to serve others and make the world a better place
The language we use with young people shapes their thinking. Tuning into the language of your school as they grow social and emotional capacities and values can help to build a consistency of messaging. What is it we are on about as a learning community in growing my child and our children? Schools use a range of programs and where there is strong parental engagement and connection, greater learning can occur.
Two simple strategies parents have found helpful
- We grow a greater sense of efficacy in young people where after listening sensitively, we ask questions of what they can change to improve the situation. Early learning of focusing energy on the things we can change in life rather than the things we can’t, helps to grow a proactive problem solving approach to life rather than developing the habit of blaming others and developing a sense of powerlessness. Being positive about your school and your teachers in front of your children helps them to grow their sense of ownership and responsibility as a learner. This is your learning context, how are you going to make it work best? This also grows important life skills in being able to live and work effectively with a range of people.
- A simple shifting of language from, “I can’t”, to, “I haven’t learnt it yet”, or, “I haven’t succeeded yet”, opens minds to the possibility of what young people can do. If young people are taking time to learn a new idea or skill, helping them to develop the habit of, ‘I haven’t learnt this yet’, not only helps them to keep trying their best, but also helps shift their thinking to identifying and recognising what they can do and what they have yet to do. For young people who learn quickly, the question of, ‘I haven’t learnt it yet’, has them questioning how they can take their thinking and their learning to deeper levels. Sticking the word “yet” up above a study area can help to calm and focus home learning.
We live in an exciting time and a great place on the Sunshine Coast where families are part of many community groups that help to grow these attributes in young people. Being engaged in school communities and wider service or interest groups provides a richness to life. Strong engagement brings benefits for many young people. Seeing ourselves as part of a village that grows young people, gives purpose and depth to growth.