Lessons in adaptability and collaboration

Karen Mahar – Assistant Principal, Deputy Head of Junior School

Karen Mahar - Assistant Principal, Deputy Head of Junior School

Karen Mahar - Assistant Principal, Deputy Head of Junior School

In a previous article, I shared the counter idea to some people wanting to cancel 2020. Given that 2020 can’t be cancelled, are we not wise to look for the meaning and potential causes for this current world situation? We discuss the value of asking questions to display a growth mindset. Why not ask yourself this question?

What if 2020 is the year we have been waiting for to allow us to bring about real and long term change.  Change that favours us all, and like never before? 

As in many unfavourable situations in life, avoidance isn’t the best approach, though it's generally the easiest. Experience has taught us that addressing, confronting and tackling problems is where real growth and learning occurs. Hence, let’s be encouraged to pursue the challenges presented in 2020, and see them as opportunities for growth and improvement.  Let's see 2020 as our greatest lesson. As we deal with these new circumstances, why don't we consider fresh solutions and adopt new strategies for managing our actions and our impact on the environment? Let's not wait for another situation that threatens our very own existence to force us to save the environment as we seek real change.

Did you know that many of the world's wealthiest have continued to build their fortunes during this year, and despite the disruptions associated with COVID-19 lockdown? How?, you might ask. Simple. These people looked for opportunity where others didn’t. They sought opportunities for learning and understanding and prosperity, before others did. These people have made the best of these same circumstances that many have asked if they can avoid.

Charles Darwin’s seminal work On the Origin of Species (1859) proposed that it is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent; it is the one most adaptable to change. Have you adapted to these changed circumstances? If so, what changes have you made? Are you considering making other changes to adapt to our changed circumstances? Alternatively, if you’ve not made changes to your routines and habits, ask yourself - why not?

Two common traits associated with positive change and evolution are "adaptability" and "collaboration". Both suggest the enormous value of questioning and the sharing of ideas.

"Unless" quote from The Lorax

In the final year of the IB Primary Years Programme (PYP) our Year 6 students are required to carry out a collaborative project known as the PYP Exhibition. This year, our students will use “Unless” as a provocation for learning. 

In Dr Seuss’ book “The Lorax” we are told:

“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”

[Seuss, D. (1971). The Lorax, Random House, New York]. 

Year 6 Student Conference day
Our Year 6 team has recently commenced the 2020 PYP Exhibition process. Last Thursday, at the Year 6 Student Conference day, a range of inspirational speakers addressed the group.

Ian Anderson explored the question – Can Australian aid help reduce world poverty? He asked why is it important for Australia to care? He spoke with the students about the phrase “Give a person a fish and they eat for a day, teach them how to fish and they eat for a lifetime.” Ian’s offered this quote, urging students to be curious and ask questions.

I keep six honest serving-men 
They taught me all I knew; 
Their names are What and Why and When And How and Where and Who.
Rudyard Kipling 
Humberto Marum is an architect who is committed to contributing to a better world. He believes that as a successful professional, he has a social responsibility to help others, dedicating a percentage of his time to pro bono activities and research. He showed the final slide of his presentation first – advising that if you learn anything from this presentation – this is the “take home” message:

Humberto Marum slide presentation Humberto Marum at PYP Workshop

Dennis Yarrington
is from School Aid, an organisation empowering young philanthropists.

School Aid logo

He asked the students to consider the opposing idea of “out reach” as being "in reach". That is, “What you do for others helps you feel good about yourself.” 

Year 12 students
For learners who pass through the Junior School, we expect the PYP Exhibition may prove to be one of those fond moments they will reminisce upon in their educational journey.  Year 12 students, Claire Huang, Gus Murray, Maxine Kerruish and Michael Troy shared some of their insights and experiences.

With a knowing smile, Claire proudly shared the idea:

Exhibition encouraged me to be willing to learn about and question the world around us and not to be afraid to be wrong, to make mistakes and to try again.

Year 12 students discuss their Exhibition experience

Senior students have the opportunity to participate in the Dirrum Festival. The aim of Dirrum is to encourage and achieve engagement. Young leaders spoke alongside inspirational guest speakers from around the world. It was uplifting to see our senior students express themselves so creatively, articulately, and intelligently about their commitment and desire to make a difference in the world.

The student voice is an important feature of Dirrum Festival. It was strong again this year, with students reporting on their Dirrum challenges in the areas of responding to climate change, connection with place, and refugee rights.
Rev. Dr Katherine Rainger, Senior Chaplain

In our Radford community, during processes and events such as PYP Exhibition and Dirrum Festival, we are reminded that we can make a difference.

While this may all sound nice, in the words of Edward de Bono

An idea that is developed and put into action is more important than an idea that exists only as an idea.

 PYP Exhibition Workshop 2020


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