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When one considers a school for one’s child or children, one may consider many factors.  In most advertisements and school exhibitions, the school’s Matric pass rate, number of distinctions and sporting achievements are presented proudly.  Marist Brothers Linmeyer is no different…

Recently, I have been thinking about what truly makes our school, or should make our school significant – and not just special.  What type of young person leaves Marist Brothers Linmeyer at the end of Grade 12 and goes out into the world after school?  Do the distinctions always equate with success at tertiary level?  Does studying medicine always make a good doctor, or doing an engineering or commerce degree contribute to social justice and economic growth, etc.?

In a recent book by Mike Crowley (April 15, 2018) – Turning the Tide: Changing the Story of Your School, these aspects are discussed.

Are traditional schools losing connection with the real world?  Scott McLeod observed that “a culture of teaching and learning often produces great achievement but a culture of achievement rarely results in great teaching and learning”.

Obviously academic achievements are incredibly important, but are we as parents and educators teaching children how to become fully human?  Are we equipping our young people with the skills needed in a challenging, modern world; to be caring, ethical, happy and successful? (and in this context, I do not refer to success as having material wealth).  Are they being taught manners, how to care for their environment and animals and to live by the five Marist characteristics?  If not, we have much to do and be responsible for.

Are our children learning how to communicate effectively, develop positive relationships, caring for those least favoured by life and much more?

Presently, in our country’s history, we as parents and educators need more than ever to be the people we wish others to be and to be good role models for our children showing them how to deal with difficult situations and teaching them how to be honest and resilient in the face of harsh reality.

I do not believe that we are sadly lacking in some of these areas, our ethos and purpose, but I believe that we should not lose focus of what is required of us to be the best for the world.

As Mike Crowley states:

“It’s time to move on from trite mission statements and measurement agendas.  We need to define, from the learner perspective, what schools are really about and for.  What is our authentic ambition for students beyond graduation?”

So, in closing – what is the greatest gift that you have given your child that will prepare him or her to be the best person that they can be for the world?

Gary Norton
Principal – High School