From the Acting Head of Junior School
By Karen Mahar, Acting Head of Junior School
Last Friday afternoon, Radford community members, including parents and educators, gathered in the Heath Lecture Theatre to listen to Mark Pesce, a leading futurist, author and entrepreneur deliver his presentation for our special event on "The Future of Education Within an Australian Context".
Rich in thought-provoking ideas regarding the likely direction of education, Mark threw out many concepts underpinning a new and innovative approach towards teaching which alluded to reverting to time-proven practices. At its core was the idea of relational learning. This involves establishing and maintaining relationships between educators and students and placing greater emphasis on mentoring. He referred to the quote attributed to Mark Twain “History doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme”.
After Mark’s insightful presentation, a stimulating panel discussion followed. How could we as educators effectively implement and apply these ideas to education, our school culture and within our teaching practices?
The panel included:
- Meg Brighton Director-General – ACT Dept Education
- Dr Justin Garrick – Head of School, Canberra Grammar School
- Professor Geoffrey Crisp – Deputy Vice-Chancellor Academic, University of Canberra
- Fiona Godfrey – Principal, Radford College
Many of the ideas Mark and the panel shared are included in this bulletin.
Over 30 years ago Radford’s first Chairman of the College Board, TB Millar said:
We want Radford to be a caring school, a Christian-based community, where the worth of every student is acknowledged and their potential fulfilled; a school in which parents, teachers, students will feel engaged in a common purpose, a single team; a school to which old students will look back with affection.
Thirty years on, mounting evidence reinforces the wisdom and merit of these very same words, advising that a great school does more than just aim for its students to reach their academic potential, it commits to providing students with a holistic and inspiring education that arouses curiosity, enables engagement with educators and encourages each student to reach their full potential. This is considered to be best achieved by facilitating learning experiences which build character, foster wellbeing and develop connection with others.
At Radford we have identified the value of teaching our students the principles of wellbeing and enabling them to construct more meaningful and fulfilling lives in the process.
It’s who you teach, not what you teach that matters most. Know each student, as some things are not in our data. Relationship is the key objective.
Mark’s presentation also provided the Radford Board a number of ideas and concepts to consider at their annual Radford College Board retreat.
Included in those attending the weekend retreat were key school-based groups, the Collegians (past students), Parents & Friends Association (P&F) and the Radford College Foundation. The common theme and unified purpose of these groups is to cultivate a sense of connection and belonging amongst all within our school community.
For our Collegians, this includes ideas aimed at continuing to grow the Radford community beyond schooling. For the P&F, this means a focus on building community, with an invitation for individuals and families to connect with our diverse community and achieve a sense of belonging, via planning and initiating community and fundraising activities.
Finally, the Junior School and Secondary School leadership groups made presentations about their progress and achievements to date for 2019. They also outlined their priorities for 2020 and beyond.
This retreat offered time to pause, reflect and consider the future of the College. It provided an opportunity to entertain new concepts and revisit past ideas. It encouraged us to look at possibilities. Marcel Proust may have articulated this approach best when he said: The real journey in life is not seeking new lands BUT seeing through new eyes.
Possibly the most appropriate quote that encompasses the true key to collaboration is from Muhammed Ali? When asked what was most important in understanding what brings about the greatest success, he responded “Me - we”.To Home