The Thistle - An E-Newsletter of Scotch College, Perth, Western Australia

It might have been

Last week I was fortunate to spend time with other Round Square school representatives. Being in a room where everyone is interested in character and experiential education provides a great opportunity for measuring Scotch College against other schools and seeing where we can improve or develop different strategies to be preparing boys for life. I am proud to say we can be confident that our young men are getting an outstanding education and our programmes stack up on a global scale.

These opportunities are also a chance to share resources and experiences and to develop relationships that can enhance our College. One presentation from Scotch Oakburn, a school in Launceston, Tasmania, was focused on how they audit character education. Where is it explicitly taught and reflected upon? As the presenter said, we assess and reflect on our academic teaching, surely we should be doing this for character too. Two particular articles were provided as to why this is important, one of which I have linked in a previous Thistle. An article in The Washington Post on 5 January 2018 said, "The seven top characteristics of success at Google are all soft skills: being a good coach; communicating and listening well; possessing insights into others (including others different values and points of view); having empathy toward and being supportive of one's colleagues; being a good critical thinker and problem solver; and being able to make connections across complex ideas."

Another resource the presenter drew upon was a TED Talk from Andrew Sokatch, the Founding Director at Character Lab, an organisation focused on building social and emotional skills in K-12 classrooms. In the video, Andrew focuses on grit, optimism, persistence, humour, and gratitude, and encourages young people to WOOP. That is to Wish, to seek an Outcome, to recognise there will be Obstacles, and to Plan to achieve the wish. As the old adage goes, failing to plan is planning to fail!

I encourage you to watch the video below, and if appropriate, do so with your son and discuss the key points. Do they have dreams and wishes? How are they planning to get there? What does success of these look like? What is going to stop them and how can they plan to achieve success?

The poem 'Don't Quit' by John Whittier sums it up well when it states, "For all the sad words of tongue or pen, the saddest are these: "It might have been."

Best wishes for the second half of Summer Term.