Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Igniting the Spark of all Children

Today I had the unique opportunity to visit the United Nations Headquarters with students representing my school's Student Council.  I was so proud and happy to observe my students contributing their voice to a very important conversation about education around the world.

It was especially exciting to meet Mr. Ishamel Nii Dodoo, Development Officer in the Executive Office of Secretary General Moon.  His commentary about education around the world was well informed and came from the heart, in particular when he shared his own journey of growing up in Ghana to studying at Oxford.  His most pivotal comments were as follows:

The best resource a nation can have is human capital; to have the knowledge and wisdom to create prosperity in nations around the world.
A nation of wise people won't fight.
A nation of foolish people will engage in conflict.
Education is a right, not a privilege.
We need to improve the quality of learning, not the quality of teaching in our schools.
We have a responsibility to foster global citizenry in our schools.
It's "smart economics" to educate women around the world.
On average, females in the workforce account for $1.7 trillion in economies around the world.

In the context of school leadership, improving the quality of student learning vs the quality of teaching will have the biggest impact on children around the world, especially as more people depend on the Internet, technology-based learning and self-guided learning.  Teachers need to improve their capacity to be facilitators of learning, rather than relying on direct instruction in the classroom.  Teachers spend time, effort and money attending professional development workshops and seminars that oftentimes do not directly improve student learning. However, if we as school leaders can invest time, effort and money into project-based learning and real-world learning experiences such as the one my students experienced  today, I believe we would see a direct correlation in improved academic success.

All children have a spark. It's our job to ignite it.

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