Friday, 11 April 2014

Work in Progress

Last night, I attended a Hong Kong Fashion Bloggers Style Summit at the Kee Club. (Yes, sometimes Principals get to go to cool, trendy stuff too!) Part of the evening was a panel discussion from five of Hong Kong's top designers, including my favourite label, Shanghai Tang. One of the questions posed was around how fashion design  has changed over the last few years. I was intrigued to hear James Woodward, from Entendre Studio, comment that people are not so much interested in the portfolio of a finished product as they are in the process- the thinking behind the design and its evolution.

Interestingly, that is what has happened in education as well. When my son went to school, he used to bring home at the end of each term a portfolio of finished work. To be honest, it did not  impress me. Not because it wasn't 'good', but because it was a showcase, obviously crafted and not really a record of his thinking and  problem solving or of the review and subsequent changes to his work. I was interested in the process of his learning, not so much the product.

Our students too, very much pick up on the process of learning, and how their journey is valued by others. At Bradbury, we work hard to value the efforts, the thinking, the problem solving and application that our children demonstrate, even if the finished product is not perfect. We see the results of this approach in students who are poised, self assured and able to articulate their learning with confidence. They are our work in progress!

Recently, one of our teachers asked her students about what happens when they read to their parents. This is what some of the children had to say:

When I am reading to my parents:
  • "She plays Candy Crush."
  • "She's triple tasking- shes on her phone texting, shes talking to my Dad and listening to me read!"
  • "Shes always taking phone calls in another room, when she comes back I've finished reading and she says "huh, what were you saying?"
  • "She watches TV or movies on her iPhone."

I guess the message here is for us all to value and support the journey of learning in tangible ways through our actions; they are noticed, even when we may think they are not. Our children are all of our works in progress, we need to be able to demonstrate that it is not just the finished 'product' we are interested in, it's the process of getting there too!