29 September 2018
In this increasingly complex, fast-paced information age where we can find the answer to almost any question with just a few strokes of a keyboard, instantly connect with experts in all fields of endeavour across the globe, what is the purpose of a school?
Do we even need schools anymore?
Well, if you believe the purpose of an education is to fill students with knowledge, then the answer to that question would have to be a resounding ‘No’. If you believe a school’s purpose is to prepare young people for the world of work, that too is problematic in an age when most of the jobs our young people will do in their lifetimes don’t yet exist, and many of the jobs of today will soon vanish. Without a doubt, the 21st century is challenging educators to redefine school’s purpose - its reason for being.
Avondale School’s purpose is encapsulated in our motto - We Learn. We Value. We Serve. But, what is it that students learn at Avondale School, and how? And how is this equipping our young people for the uncertain future that awaits them? Throughout the rest of this term’s Newsletters you will be hearing from a range of educators at Avondale School, giving their responses to these very questions, but today I’d like to tell you about two of our school’s strategies: the creation of a new Humanities Department and the expansion of Project Based Learning (PBL).
From 2019 there will be a new Humanities Department in the Secondary School - a learning hub that will combine the current Bible, English and HSIE departments. The purpose? To help create a learning environment that more closely reflects the real world we inhabit - a world that presents us with complex problems that require deep, more connected understandings, not just subject based knowledge.
Secondly, our school is focused on expanding opportunities for students to engage in Project Based Learning. PBL can be defined in many ways, but it essentially boils down to learning by doing. Projects drive students to investigate and construct their own creative and innovative solutions to real world problems and share them with audiences beyond the school - even global audiences.
Co-founder of Apple, Steve Jobs, famously said, “The ones who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do”, and this relates to our calling, our purpose - to be a school that empowers students to not only be in the world, but to become agents of positive change for the world. It’s a huge task but, with God at the centre, this goal is manifesting here at Avondale School in some really exciting ways.
Secondary English Coordinator