What is success at the age of 11?

I have been reflecting about this in relation to key skills for life, national assessments, as well as educators who promote ‘Happiness Education’ and others who say children need a ‘reality check’ in relation to life beyond school (i.e. life/opportunities are never fair, accept it, get over it, be strong and move on . . .)

Here are my thoughts and reflections  . . .

What is success at the age of 11 for the child, parents, classmates, the class teacher and the school?  Should success be the same things for all these individuals and groups? Could it be the same things?

Is success the results from a test?  Is success relative to an individual or a measurement against others?   Is success the secondary school you are going to?  Is success happiness?  Is success staying with friends as you move into Year 7?  Is success the right group of friends?  What is success? . . . . .

How you and I definite success will be dependent on who we are (child, parent, teacher, school, or the government) our experiences, our viewpoint on education and life in general, and other factors potentially.  Therefore, how we each view success will be different.

Let’s put the child at the centre.   I see success for the child as:

Being happy and having key skills for life

  • Having positive self-worth and self-esteem
  • Understanding about and living a healthy lifestyle
  • Having the resilience to cope with challenges, disappointments and failures
  • Being able to interact with others in an appropriate and positive way; both children and adults
  • Being able to work as part of a team or independently
  • Understanding right and wrong; having a moral code
  • Being able to express themselves confidently, whether out-going in personality or naturally shy
  • Being able to use a variety of thinking skills and techniques
  • Being aware of others and how they can encourage, support and care for them
  • Understanding they have a contribution to make in all situations or circumstances that they find themselves, i.e. with their friends, family, school, club or team, their local community and charity initiatives – they can make a positive difference

Having a positive approach to learning and a curiosity to explore and find out new things (to question, research, review, design, make, test, evaluate, draw conclusions and form their own opinions)

  • Having an understanding of how they learn and their learning style preferences
  • Having  secure study and revision skills
  • Having a secure grasp of basic literacy and numeracy skills and ideally to have gone beyond this stage
  • Having been given ‘a voice’, used it constructively e.g. as part of a team or when working with a partner, during peer assessment, when being a monitor or holding a position of responsibility and through School Committee
  • Being aware of issues locally, nationally and global developments or concerns

Having benefitted from a broad, balanced and creative curriculum

  • Having dynamic learning opportunities within the classroom, school grounds, local community and further afield
  • Having experienced a wide range of subjects and gained a wide range of skills and knowledge (including: English, Mathematics, Science, ICT, RE, Geography, History, Languages, Art, DT, Music and Physical Education)
  • Having used technology to support their learning and are ‘technologically literate’
  • Having had opportunities to be creative and initiate

Success at the age of 11 is about personal qualities and key skills for life.

Linking with this topic, here is a great link to a presentation that addresses 21st Century learning.  We need to change how we teach: http://teacherslifeforme.blogspot.com/2011/10/21st-century-learning-we-need-to-change.html#comment-form

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