One of the core aims of any educational establishment must be to inspire those it educates to love learning. We live in an exam obsessed society and age which has lost sight of this bigger picture. An over-emphasis on passing exams narrows children’s educational experience and can extinguish enquiry and a love of learning. Exams are important hoops that contribute towards progression in certain areas of life, but that is all they are: a means to an end.
I personally advocate rigorous, focussed learning as a means of gaining deep understanding of a subject. Hard yards tend to deliver reward and fulfilment. However, it mustn’t be at the cost of losing an innate love of learning. By maintaining curiosity in the world, with its multiple layers of interest, people continue to grow and remain interesting themselves.
As someone who leads the learning in an educational establishment, I try to exemplify the mantra that it is important to remain curious and important to be outward looking in one’s engagement with the world and all it has to offer.
In spite of the busyness of my working life, I continue to seek to learn new things. In my last three jobs, I have learnt the bagpipes, the trumpet, the bass guitar and now the trombone. Each morning, I apply rigour to my learning by practising the trombone at 7am in my office: a time of day when very few others have to suffer the growing pains of my learning a new instrument. After eight lessons, over the summer, learning the basics via a YouTube tutor, I have been learning by ear before starting 1:1 lessons with a real life tutor in January.
Furthermore, I have been fulfilling New Year’s Resolutions since January, developing my culinary skills and experiencing some of the amazing things London has to offer. One of the best things I have discovered is the world class church choirs that perform week in, week out, in our great city in places like The Tower of London, St Bride’s Church and, most recently, The Royal Hospital, which I visited last month. Surrounded by Chelsea Pensioners, I enjoyed a patriotic service filled with glorious music. I also found out that Margaret and Dennis Thatcher were regular attendees and are buried in the Royal Hospital grounds.
It takes time and effort to acquire new knowledge and skills. It is important that all adults within a school community, be they teachers or parents, should take the trouble to do this to inspire their young charges to be outward looking, inspired learners that make a difference within whichever community to which they belong.