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.
Among the many articles that I read this month, a few have resonated with me because they applied to education and how students learn. The first was a book on sleep, referenced in an article in the Guardian newspaper that that was published a few weeks ago: Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker review – how more sleep can save your life.
To quote from this article – which is brilliant by the way:
That low-level exhaustion becomes their accepted norm, or baseline. Individuals fail to recognise how their perennial state of sleep deficiency has come to compromise their mental aptitude and physical vitality, including the slow accumulation of ill health. A link between the former and the latter is rarely made in their mind.
Another article on Facebook (yes, I do read it now and again) from the World Economic Forum, was about the Finnish school system and their drive towards schooling students in creativity and innovation: Education without the boundaries.
Another was from Fortune Magazine about jobs in 2040, roughly when our Early Learning students will be graduating: The 6 jobs everyone will want in 2040.
And, of course, yet another on cell-phones that highlighted some interesting data from recent research. So much is changing in terms of the skill-sets that our graduating students need to acquire, as well as to prepare them for a workplace that will be radically different from the one today. So, time that is given to other less-productive pursuits need to be limited. The data from the article, cited below about distracted students is pertinent.
- College students unlock their phones at least every fifteen minutes, look at them about five minutes each time, and spend a total of 4½ hours a day glued to their devices.
- Online conversations are teens’ lifeblood, accounting for much, if not most, of their social lives.
- When teens have their phones taken away, they become highly anxious.
- Phone-related anxiety is closely linked to poor academic performance and sleep deprivation.
- About 80 percent of teens say they rarely if ever sleep well, usually because they have a smartphone at their bedside and check it before going to sleep and during the night.
- During a 15-minute stint of studying, teens spend at least five minutes in a state of distraction.
- Eighty percent of high-school teachers and 63 percent of elementary teachers say technology is making students less able to sustain attention.
(The Distracted Student Mind: Enhancing Its Focus and Attention” by Larry Rosen in Phi Delta Kappan, October 2017 (Vol. 99, #2, p. 8-14), www.kappanmagazine.org)
These articles mourn the negative impact of social media on study habits and the broader aspect of the lives of teenagers. The paucity of social connection among adolescents coupled with lifestyles that limit the amount of sleep that we have each night are taking their toll on the emotional well-being of our children.
However, there are some situations, as King Canute knows, that we cannot fight if we want to avoid the incoming tide, in this case, of technology. So why not harness such energy that we know all students possess and redirect them towards other activities that do promote social interaction, on a face-to-face level, and train our students more deliberately for the future jobs and lifestyles.
We completed the first phase of the conversion of the former preschool and kindergarten classrooms this summer by creating design-focused settings, where our students will be encouraged to be more creative and innovative, and required to work in teams to design products to specific outcomes and deadlines. The more I read and research, the more convinced I am in that this is the direction we must proceed. It might sound strange, but students do too much thinking these days and not enough doing; perhaps if they were to do so, we might all sleep more easily.
We are constantly reminded, as I remind you, that things are changing, and changing fast. But if one reflects, this really has always been the case. Back in 1964, before most of you were born, Bob Dylan wrote a song entitled, ‘Times they are a-changing’. The words ring true today: Come gather ’round people Wherever […]
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 […]