Welcome to my Blog
Much happens at AISB that goes unnoticed, or is very visible and is never commented upon. We send out regular newsletters, but often the day-to-day minor improvements get lost. Thus, in the months to come, this blog will give me an opportunity to communicate more detailed updates on the running of this school. I will regularly be posting updates and, whenever needed, in emergencies. All posts will allow comments, and I encourage you to participate in the discussions at hand. To do so, click on the title of the blog post and scroll down to the end.
All posts are monitored and only signed posts will be approved.
As we embark on our Step into the Extraordinary Capital Campaign to engage community support for our next project, the Design and Engineering Center. Our objective is not just to build additional space for students, but to transform how we teach Technology and Design and break the educational mold on how we encourage our students to appreciate life-long learning.
There have been numerous articles written recently concerning the need to change our approach to education that will prepare today’s students for tomorrow’s future job market. In a recent article in The Independent (May Bulman, December, 2016) Bill Gates remarked that there are, ‘three skills … essential for success … it rules out anyone who doesn’t excel in science and numbers’. ‘People with three backgrounds will be the most in-demand in the coming years: sciences, engineering and economics.’
Likewise, a recent article in this month’s Washington Post detailed that, ‘bosses believe your work skills will soon be useless’; not a particularly encouraging remark! The journalist goes on to say that:
“Most of the business and technology professionals expected new training programs to emerge, both at schools and on the private market, to better prepare the future labor force. But thirty percent of the 1,408 respondents doubted such a quick transformation could take place. They felt … that ‘adaptation in teaching environments will not be sufficient to prepare workers for future jobs.’”
It is the role of this new center to adapt our current teaching environment, to transform the curriculum, to embark our students on such an educational journey into unfamiliar settings and expectations. In transforming such dreams into reality, the teaching staff will encounter what Machiavelli (1513), the quintessential rationalist and pragmatist, who is so often misunderstood, described so clearly in The Prince concerning the perils and traumas that beset those who try to change the existing order:
“There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things.”
Machiavelli’s (1513) comments concern the traumas, difficulties and perils of change; however, his rationalistic extremes are not quite so prevalent today as they were five hundred years ago in Florentine Italy, at least not in the school environment! Yet, the desire to unravel the paradoxes of human nature and its effect on change within society and institutions remain. It is the distance between our dreams and educational aspirations, and their operational reality, upon which we will shed light; the shadow between good ideas and their implementation, or as T.S. Eliot (1917) poetically described:
Between the idea and the reality
Between the motion and the act
Falls the shadow,
Between the conception and the creation
Between the emotion and the response
Falls the shadow.
The British author C. P. Snow whose perceptive eye focuses on the ‘corridors of power’ within academic institutions, also concurs in remarking that:
“In a society like ours, academic patterns change more slowly than any others. In my lifetime, in England, they have crystallised rather than loosened. I used to think that it would be about as hard to change, say, the Oxford and Cambridge scholarship examination, as to conduct a major revolution. I now believe that I was over-optimistic.”
Change we must if we are to fulfil our mission to engage, prepare and inspire. And we cannot do it alone – it takes a village to raise – and educate – a child; hence our outreach into our community. There are many resources that we need to tap into; many parents who have direct involvement in the realms of technology (albeit, food, information, automation or robotics), material science and mathematics, as well as design, music, and film media.
We need your help with this new venture, because to face tomorrow prepared, we need to step into the extraordinary, today.
Last week we reported to the community the feedback from the Parent Survey that was undertaken at the end of the last academic year. As with last year’s survey, the participation rate was marvelous and I would like to thank all of you who contributed your thoughts and comments. Such feedback is very important for […]
The more I read and witness the rapid changes that are evolving around us, I am convinced that ‘average’ will not get anyone very far in life. In a recent article, the Financial Times reporting on the boom in robotics investment in 2015 (http://on.ft.com/26NvonM) made it clear that manufacturing is increasingly, indeed almost exponentially, becoming […]
The world around us is changing rapidly, almost too quickly for my liking, but those who stand still will be left behind as we track towards the future. The current campus has not really changed in the past sixteen years, whilst the world has. For our students to thrive and succeed, we will embrace change, […]
About a year ago I wrote something on free speech, that was published, if I remember correctly, in ‘The Underground’, but it seems to have gone largely unheeded. So without succumbing to the temptation of repeating myself, I will state my thoughts in a wider context and perhaps be rather more explicit in my expectations. […]
As we plan to improve and change our educational offerings the key to any vision of the future lies in our ability to predict what knowledge, skills and concepts will be needed by coming generations of students. I am firmly of the belief, from what I read and understand of our world changing, at a […]
We often talk about the AISB community and how important it is in the life of past, present and even future students. Whilst we need feedback and help from alumni and parents, there is an onus on the school to provide information that invites discussion and presents data that has the potential to maximize the […]
Every great school is replete with great teachers; teachers are the face of the school and they put the Mission and Vision into action in the classroom. Everyone understands the importance and effect of teachers on producing a successful learning environment. But how we resource our teachers, the quality of the educational materials, the depth […]
Dear Parents, The start of the school year is always a busy time as changes to the campus come to completion and orientation sessions for new and returning faculty turn towards welcoming students for the first day of school. You will have received a number of emails from the Admissions Office detailing such changes, but […]