This week we have a special guest introduction from Alison Andrew, School Chaplain.
In search of the Holy Grail
Hopefully over the past weekend you were able to join the cast and crew of our production team at one of the performances of Spamalot. It was a spectacular production with the secondary students bringing together their months of rehearsals and hard work into a polished and very professional performance. In the play, the search for the Holy Grail is referred to many times. The Holy Grail being that quest for the chalice that Jesus drank out of at the Last Supper and that which has come to be the metaphor for life and the thing which people seek as the highest goal. Throughout the play the knights are asked, ‘What is your quest?’ And they each in turn reply – ‘To seek the Holy Grail’.
So, the question in our school setting is, what is the Holy Grail of education? In years past, the Holy Grail of education has undoubtably been the ATAR, that magical number that opens doors and opportunities. However, over the past few years there has been a recognition and understanding that a number does not necessarily translate to the skills needed to work and thrive in our ever-changing world. The recognition that there are other qualities and tools that are also of value in order to take part in our world is occurring. The tools and skills of commitment, teamwork, resilience, creativity and adaptability to name just a few. While the ATAR is currently still important, the tertiary sector do include a range of criteria in their selection process, for example, community service or a folio of work.
Students, parents, universities and the general public are searching for modern approaches to promote and assess future-focused learning skills and to prepare our next generation for success in this dynamic, interconnected world. (https://www.bigpicture.org.au/news/beyond-atar-proposal-change)
As Chaplain, as we seek to identify what the Holy Grail of education will become, I find the ancient text of the prophet Micah extremely helpful.
(The Lord) He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? Micah 6:8
A skill set that enables our students to live lives that do justice, that show kindness and that enable them to walk humbly with our God. Qualities that endure through time – qualities that are as relevant now as they were 2800 years ago when this text was written.
So as the Holy Grail of education undergoes some changes, and the ATAR is one tool of several for students following their passion into the future, it’s time to reassess what we want the Holy Grail of education to be. That is our quest.