Figurative Speech: Coding the Future
Andy Gordon – Deputy Principal, Head of Junior School
By Andy Gordon - Deputy Principal, Head of Junior School
I often recall a quote from Seneca that I heard: “If you don’t know where you are going – there are no favourable winds.”
Where are you going? Where are we going?
There are a number of football-themed movies that I love. One that particularly comes to mind is the story of We are Marshall (2006). Coach Jack Lengyel took over the team after a devastating plane crash in 1970 which claimed the lives of the majority of the team and coaching staff. In the film, there is a powerful speech by Lengyel, (played by Matthew McConaughey):
Jack Lengyel speaks:
“Right now, this is who we are. In the shadows, grieving. Is this how we want to be remembered?
One day, not today, not tomorrow, not this season, probably not next season either but one day, you and I are gonna wake up and suddenly we're gonna be like every other team in every other sport where winning is everything and nothing else matters. And when that day comes, well that’s, that’s when we'll honour them.
When you take that field today, you've got to lay that heart on the line, men. From the souls of your feet, with every ounce of blood you've got in your body, lay it on the line until the final whistle blows. And if you do that, if you do that, we cannot lose. We may be behind on the scoreboard at the end of the game but if you play like that we cannot be defeated.
This is your opportunity to rise from these ashes and grab glory. We are Marshall!”
In this statement, within the context of that team, I feel purpose. I feel passion. While a devastating place to be, the figurative Roman sailor finds a favourable wind.
Our Favourable Wind
Our learning community continues to be alive with experiences from across the academic disciplines, whether a Junior or Secondary School learner. With all that we now know about how the brain works, it is exciting and powerful to see our learners empowered with opportunities to reach high levels of thinking and problem-solving through relevant and relational learning. The new frontier of education is ensuring that learning is contextual, so that learners construct new knowledge with meaning, purpose and power.
Several years ago, while representing Queensland as the independent schools’ appointment to the Australian Primary Principals Association, I had the joy of attending the International Confederation of Principals conference in Cape Town. I presented a poster to a gathering of educational leaders. Quite simply, it plays on the language of coding, using BASIC commands from the 70s and 80s. It specifically incorporates all that we are reaching for as we grow learners who become adults who are thinkers, leaders and contributors.
The syntax approach brought together neuroscience, positive psychology, and the commitment to the International Baccalaureate mission.
I will let a picture (with words) do most of the talking. The keyword for us, as a community, with moral purpose and courage, is our REACH beyond the known, the surface, to higher levels of learning, leading and loving. Our students are in the process of BECOMING and what they become is a direct result of our beliefs about how children learn best, and what the purpose of the learning is. What we believe, what we input, and how we develop and empower learning environments matters. Our world needs capable, confident, creative and emotionally healthy adults.
And the wind is favourable - we are coding the future.