Posted on December 9, 2016 / Girls' Junior
2016 has been a year of momentous change both locally and on the world stage. Australia almost had a change of government in a cliff hanger election while the Brexit vote in the UK and the Trump victory in the US presidential elections against all the odds took virtually everyone by surprise. Regardless of one’s own political preferences and inclinations, a mood for dramatic change is sweeping across the world and is expressing itself in diverse ways. The days of our ancestors where there were few significant changes in a generation are long gone.
In such a dynamic environment, how should we prepare our young people to cope and flourish with the rapidly changing world? This question lies at the very heart of all that we do at Tintern. Let’s take this opportunity to consider two key strategies we use.
First, we have given much thought to the most effective ways of developing our well-being program to equip our girls for the fast changing world around them. A key instrument for achieving this goal has been calling in role models-people who have succeeded in this dynamic world. Many of us remember the sterling efforts of Belinda Hocking, a swimming finalist at the Rio Olympics in June. Our girls were spellbound listening to Belinda give her testimony about the long hours of training and the absolute determination to succeed. This theme of grit and growth mindset also came through in abundance when we had Paula Scott as a visitor. Paula is a retired Paralympian and against all the odds she succeeded in overcoming her disability to compete for her country at the highest level. Theirs were not stories of striving just to win but rather of beating the odds to do their very best and believing that they could do it.
Such a focus on character development, needs to be reinforced by a focus on appropriate learning content, to prepare the girls for this fast-changing world. In this context, we are emphasising the STEM subjects (Science Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) because these are precisely the fields where the rapid changes are taking place. STEM is our girls’ future; related occupations are growing at 17%, while others are growing at 9.8%. 8 out of 10 most wanted employees are ones with degrees in the STEM fields. Exposure to STEM programs has been a big focus for Tintern this past year as we introduced coding within the classroom and activities within Library sessions for students as young as Prep. The After school Robotics program has also been outstanding success. All of these activities support inquiry based learning which assists our girls to take risks and try many different strategies and options to solve the problems which they are faced with.
We can confidently predict that when the current Year 6 girls graduate in 2022, they will be going into a world where the pace of change is at least as rapid as it is today. We can also be confident that our program of character development supplemented by our focus on studying subjects of greatest relevance to the modern world will prepare our girls to flourish and to find a great sense of personal fulfilment as they move into adulthood.