Aware, Able, Act: separately three simple words but together they combine to make a very powerful vision. A school’s curriculum or learning programme (as I prefer to call it) is very similar to this concept. We constantly use words to describe and explain all aspects of education and teaching, each one with their own relevance to specific students and their progress through school, each one seemingly important in their own right: assessment, holistic, standards, creativity, progress, leadership, independent, collaborative, the list goes on… These words can look and sound very impressive and you will often see them on most school’s websites, in prospectuses and throughout publicity materials that promote and explain elements of a curriculum. They mean very little though if there is nothing to bring them together, to link them like a helix that intertwines through everything a school does for its students and make learning authentic. A really good school will have a learning programme that does this, and will be fully aware of the ‘DNA’ that brings these words and their impact on the students alive.
Aware: All schools provide students with knowledge; it is the basis of education and the key objective to passing tests and exams ultimately gaining qualifications to (apparently?) be successful in life. There is a lot more to life than just passing examinations therefore we want our students to be inquirers and critical thinkers to become socially and emotionally intelligent, not solely to be spoon-fed and reliant upon the passing of information, there is so much more to know, to feel and to find out. Realistically students today can find the answer to anything without a teacher (my son is forever on Youtube watching National Geographic); the important thing is the process and how to gain the knowledge and questioning its validity.
Able: Education is not from the neck up! It is important to allow our students to learn in the ways that best suit them, to use all of their senses, emotions and skills, to be able to learn outside of the box. A good test (for the students and teacher!) would be to observe a class with no teacher and to see what the students would do? Giving children the knowledge and making them aware is important but a good programme will also ‘equip’ them, give them the tools and the confidence to use their knowledge, to be independent learners and to share it with others.
Act: Too many people make the mistake of jumping straight into action. Without real awareness and the vested time in life skills, cultural awareness and confidence building then this can be a negative experience rather than a proactive one and in the long-term this can be quite damaging in many ways. With accurate and detailed knowledge and a confident skill set young people are empowered to make a difference, and they will. This is not a powerful vision but a reality.
The Global Citizenship Award realizes this reality and helps young people graduate from school: Aware, Able and Acting. You to can also be part of this learning experience and make the most of your potential as a global citizen. Choose an Identity, set yourself a challenging target and get reflecting – we look forward to hearing from you soon.