Head Teacher’s Blog 25th March

As mentioned a couple of weeks back, we have been thinking about learning experiences and outcomes and what exactly we would like our children to get from their time in school.
This has led me to consider the facts versus skills question. Of course we want to furnish children with both of these tools for life, but which is more valuable? I would be genuinely interested in your thoughts on this.
As a teacher of some 30 years, I have amassed a huge amount of facts and can bore for Scotland at dinner parties on phases of the moon, the five K’s of Sikhism, the Beaufort Scale and much, much more. There is a very valuable bank of knowledge and facts that our children need to know- number stories, conventions for writing, basic geography and history, healthy diet etc., etc,.etc.
Children of today face challenges very different from those of your generation (parents) and even more so  from mine (grandparents). Accessing information is easy and convenient for them; they do however need to be able to judge the validity of what they find. At any given time they may have access to at least three calculators, but again will have to have a good grasp of place value to spot errors in pressing keys.
So reading, writing and basic number understanding are as vital now as ever, and our curriculum has to mirror this. But it must also take account of the many other challenges our children will face and perhaps the biggest of these will be the need to be enterprising and flexible, especially as regards the job market.
We are constantly looking for opportunities  to encourage our children to acquire skills for life and work. Our main task in this is to work out what we do (what experiences we offer/how we organise these and the ethos and manner in which we operate) to enable our children to build on their attributes and skills. (All credit to staff who are willing to have these discussions over their cheese sandwich at lunchtime!)
What has emerged so far is that we think the best way to engineer this garnering of life skills for the children is to challenge them to meet a specific outcome and let them work out how to do it. To that end we have been planning for an Olympic themed event at Saltoun next term. The aim is that the children will choose, organise and run an event. The nature of the event will be up to them to decide. We are hoping this will produce: ideas-men, organisers, facilitators, inventors, communicators, problem solvers, publicists and reporters, health and safety officials, co-ordinators, arbitration experts, peacemakers- the list is endless.
Humbie has already made a start to this with their Community Cafes and are planning next term to branch into live broadcast- on radio and perhaps TV.
So, hopefully we are sowing seeds now which will stand the children in good stead for later life. Who knows- we may have a budding Richard Branson, Seb Coe, John Humphreys or Anita Roddick in our midst. I hope so.
Lindy Lynn

1 thought on “Head Teacher’s Blog 25th March

  1. The Olympic event sounds like a really good way of the children working out for themselves their own strengths and weaknesses. It will be great to see what they come up with and the roles they take on.

    My thoughts are that children absolutely need to learn the basis in reading writing and maths at primary school with a bit of life/work skills however I would hope that this would be dealt with more at high school. It’s important to cover health and well being at an early age therefore for me, sporting activities and acheivement should also start early with a hope that this will stay with them for life. It was reported yesterday that one third of babies born this year will live to 100 and I would hope they will be fit and healthy 100 year olds.

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