Empowering young people to change the world 2017


I was so inspired by the 2016 conference that I decided to write a new style of PSHE to address the issue of empowering young people to change the world. I was delighted to be asked by @RWBAHolocaust to run a workshop this year. The small question I posed to delegates was if the future of humanity lies in our hands as educators – what would you teach in 21st Century Global Citizenship? The idea of what ingredients we need to help students flourish in a curriculum and values we wish to have in our educational environment was a topic which repeated during the day in other speakers’ sessions. Like last year, I came away with sheets of questions. Now I need to consider my answers to them.  

@RWBAHolocaust began the day with a leading question. What are the obstacles to empowering young people to change the world? As a leader of learning do teachers consider those obstacles and seek to teach students the skills they need to deal with 21st and 22nd Century obstacles to them flourishing in life? 

I have seen the amazing work being carried out by the new Venturers’ Academy in Bristol on the local news and was not disappointed by Trystan Williams’ presentation with Richard Lang. Where everything’s possible! What a school motto, vision and ethos! Trystan reminded us that you can’t empower people unless you trust them. In Sweden all 16 year olds sit exams which are marked internally. Trust is part of the education system. Trust enables students to flourish. Trust enable students to be that innovative thinker. Trust enables room to grow in an education system for all stake holders. Trystan firmly believes that it’s the way you make people feel that lets people flourish. By having values in education such as empathy and kindness the world is a simpler place to live in.  

@VenturersAc is unlocking potential in learners. We saw the impact of music therapy in helping a student find their voice. A student who had not been speaking has been helped to realise that everything is possible.  Where we see NHS mental health provision being cut Venturers Academy are running mental health provision with the NHS through schools. However are all schools moving with the times? We saw a picture of a Victorian classroom and a modern classroom. Have we moved on as educators? Are we writing a curriculum with vulnerable leaders’ needs at the heart of it? Do we see poor behaviour as our school not meeting the child’s needs? Can we see past labels and push people to exceed the expected outcomes?  

If learning ambition and self-confidence can often only be taught outside the classroom do we have a plan for experiences our students are going to have during their time at our schools? Trystan talked about his experiences in the world’s highest classroom, the world’s coldest classroom and is planning his next adventure. He even asked for people interested in participating in a sailing classroom. Forward thinking and imaginative educators who think beyond the traditional curriculum can empower young people to move beyond labels. So I’m off to make sure I hold the idea of where everything’s possible for all learners I meet. 

@PSHESolutions John Rees presented last year and a talk on SMSC in a post-truth world seemed like a topical presentation this year too. John posed another leading question. Are students actively engaged within their local community? When we get spiritual, moral, social and cultural education correct then attendance, attainment and progress rise. Students and staff are encouraged to engage in school life and become involved in the community.  

How does our curriculum support a customer facing world? Are we providing students with the skills they need to deal with people? Are we providing lessons on stress management? Are we looking at high performing PISA countries such as Singapore to look at the work they are doing with regard to Character Education? 

Children need roots and wings! If we provide academic roots to let them fly to university and life-long learning can we say the same for their social skills or their values?  

@paulday30 ran a workshop on leadership. Would you follow you? This is a great question at any point in your teaching career. Although I kept thinking of Spartacus I did find the fill in the blank activity really powerful. 

Leadership is ____________________

Leaders are _____________________

We are _________________________

I am ___________________________ 

Now I really want to try it with middle leaders, aspirant senior leaders and even initial teacher trainees. 

@aprenderuk Phil Hawkins shared his experiences of working in Brazil. By working in a different culture there are lots of lessons we can learn. As educators we know that reflection is an important part of teaching as it helps us consider what creates success. What is our successful outcome from education? Intelligence and character are the goals of true education. We have a responsibility to grow responsible students. How do we build bridges between the groups we have in our school community? Sports stars, musicians, scientists, artists, pupil premium, most able etc etc. Do we build bridges using values, relational education, sharing inter-cultural dimensions? How do we build real versus virtual relationships? 

I am interested in exploring the idea of explanation and respectful discussion on how breaking rules affects those around you which builds empathetic responses as adults. 

#EYP2CTW is an inspiring event. I haven’t even mentioned connections I made. If @RWBAHolocaust runs this event in 2018 I urge you to book!