I was asked by a Senior Education bureaucrat recently about our tagline, “Inspiring the Curious”. With the accompanying image we use containing suggestions of the infinite potential of space travel, the concept of exploring “what is possible” becomes the starting point. I was able to expand the conversation to our four core values: Compassion, Integrity, Perseverance, and Curiosity so we could discuss how the four worked together to build our culture. “Look after each other”, “do the right thing”, “don’t give up”, and “be open to new ideas” seem like 4 pretty good pillars for a strong, successful culture.
“Inspiring” is an action, only possible with the necessary conditions in place. Obviously, young people can only be inspired in a community that encourages inspiration. This is where quality staff are such a crucial factor. Not only must they have the intellectual tools and the motivation to bring children along on a learning journey, the relationship between teacher and learner must be sound and respectful, where both parties are keen to explore learning as co-travellers. This can only be successful within a culture of learning – an environment that respects, supports and expects mutually-beneficial learning to take place. Weak or poor teaching, misbehavior, ignored well-being issues, non-evidence-based teaching strategies, low standards and low expectations cannot be tolerated in an environment that inspires.
Inspired learning requires students to feel safe and comfortable exploring concepts and explaining ideas where they may not be confident. Many students can be hesitant to put their hand up when they are not confident in their mastery of a topic. How do we ensure that students have that confidence? Our core values certainly provide a strong foundation. Young people who are honest, trustworthy and understand clearly the difference between right and wrong (integrity), or who are resilient and follow up on the things they know they have to do (perseverance) tend to succeed.
We encourage all students to embrace the “TAS way”. It has been heartening to see the influx of so many new families to TAS this year keen to become a successful, engaged member of the TAS community. Our culture of learning and its associated characteristics is strong and will continue to grow stronger. Thank you all for being part of this wonderful educational community.