Globally ready students
At the moment, our students are engaging in subject selections for 2021. When I was in school thirty years ago, we selected subjects based on careers. However, knowing that today’s young people will have 10 – 14 careers, we encourage students to consider the skills they will need to successfully navigate work and life after school.
As we have seen all too well in 2020, we live in a global society and every nation is impacted by world events. It is important therefore that young people understand the world beyond their immediate environment, they are able to interact nationally and internationally with respect for the rights and dignity of others, and they are prepared to take action towards building responsible, sustainable and thriving communities.
There is much research highlighting the importance of preparing students for global competence. “The capacity to examine local, global and intercultural issues, to understand and appreciate the perspectives and world views of others, to engage in open, appropriate and effective interactions with people from different cultures, and to act for collective well-being and sustainable development” (OECD 2018) is vital if young people are to become global citizens.
In preparing for life after school, there are other skills that are increasingly evident across every occupation, industry and education level. Competence in 21st century skills is also highly sought after by employers and thus the Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority (QCAA) syllabuses are underpinned by them. Our students need opportunities to develop their skills in critical thinking, creative thinking, communication, collaboration and teamwork, personal and social skills, and ICT skills to maximise success in learning. These skills will also help them navigate formal and informal life situations.
2020 has also provided many opportunities for growth and development in life skills such as flexibility, adaptability and resilience. The hurdles of 2020 have not been easy and there are many individuals within our community who have found the challenges difficult.
I am grateful for our staff and community who, throughout the challenges of 2020, have proven themselves to be resilient role models and great support for our girls. As the year has progressed, and Covid-19 has changed our way of living and doing, I have witnessed many people within our community display prowess in the 21st century skills. They have collaboratively problem solved, considered the situation with a critical mindset, and found solutions to situations that a year ago, we wouldn’t have known would become problems. We have all had to draw on our personal and social skills to navigate the new environment and encourage each other.
Our staff have needed to be flexible in delivering opportunities – in the classroom and in the events and activities offered. They have had to be adaptable, as regulations changed and arrangements have needed to change. Their role modelling of ICT skill development during the School’s reduced operations in Term 2 were certainly evidence of their ability to learn and grow in this area.
2020 has reinforced that we live in a rapidly changing world with increasingly global challenges. When our girls leave school, we want them to not only have the skills and aptitudes necessary to benefit from opportunities and difficulties, we want them to be able to morph and grow their skills in response to new situations.
Whilst we have had a number of experiences curtailed in 2020, we have nonetheless gained opportunities to think flexibly, find new solutions and build resilience. We have also learned to engage more effectively in interconnected, complex and diverse ways. There are still difficulties ahead in 2020 but we know that we are a clever, confident and connected community who will rise to the challenges, learn from them and, through our experiences, be better prepared for future events.
Mrs Deanne Johnston
OECD (2018) “PISA: Preparing our youth for an inclusive and sustainable world. The OECD global competence framework” available at http://www.oecd.org/pisa/Handbook-PISA-2018-Global-Competence.pdf