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Thinking about our place in the world

News

15 June 2018

Thinking about our place in the world

Thinking about our place in the world

Recently I’ve been thinking a lot about International mindedness. It is an interesting phrase that sits behind the challenge for our school to realise the aspiration we want for our current and future graduates to be intelligent, purposeful and caring global citizens. However, this oft used motherhood phrase undermines the complexity and challenges of developing authentic international mindedness in individuals.

In our current strategic plan, Dr Newton challenged us to respond to the phenomena of diverse global cultures challenging the dominance of the western mindset and behaviours of western cultures. We continue to work with questions about what do we do when long held human values are being tested? Who is responsible for our environment? How do we make sense of the rise of complex global economic organisation? What are the advantages and disadvantages of viewing the concept of “international” through an Asian lens? On the world stage we see some countries retreating to isolationism or in contrast those seeking to cultivate interdependence and to the more extreme dominance. Of course, this challenge does not just disappear at the end of this strategic plan and we must continue to grapple with it to ensure our students are world ready and feel confident in who they are and understanding how the world works.

The tensions these circumstances bring have significant implications for the design of our educational offering.  Learning must be suffused with opportunities to develop personal resilience, critical and creative thinking skills, social and emotional intelligence and ethical and moral behaviours. The learning contexts cannot be restricted to the traditional classroom curriculum. This is the gauntlet being thrown down to educational institutions worldwide and I am proud to say that at Scotch we continue to develop our offering as the shaping of our culture must be open to these phenomena.

So how do we work with students to provide them with the tools and experiences to understand what it is to be internationally minded? There is of course a myriad of concepts and approaches to consider. Developing empathy is key.

Our focus for the next seven days is Refugee Week and the two key opportunities open for students. They can get around the Ration Challenge and support the 40 students and staff who will experience what it’s like to eat rations as a Syrian refugee in Jordan. The Challenge ration packs contain exactly the same food, in almost the same quantities, as are distributed to refugees. Hugh Scaffidi-Muta (Year 11 Stewart, Refugee Ambassador) has organised this activity. He has also helped shape our assembly at the end of the week. The highlight will be Mrs Nhu Trinh, our Chinese teacher in Junior and Middle School, who will share her experience as a Vietnamese refugee in Australia – a powerful story.

On Tuesday night, current students and their parents from Years 7-10 are invited to the Scotch in China information evening. You will have received a reminder invitation to this event and it’s not too late to sign up. We have 40 students currently interested in participating in the tour and it is my hope that we will reach the magical 60 so we can run three tour groups for the program. As with anything in life, an international experience can happen to you or you can happen to it.  Working with Rustic Pathways enables us to create an experience that helps students gain an understanding of Chinese culture and the Made in China 2025 strategy which will inevitably impact on us all. 

We have now selected our Year 12 students for the January Global Service project in Laos and the 12 students in the program are excited about what their opportunity to be part of something where creating a difference is tangible. Our Middle School students have a focus on international action and awareness during the second semester.

Action matters and it doesn’t have to be about being a world traveller to be internationally minded. At Scotch the minded part of the question is the real part to grapple with – that is about the collaboration, effective and genuine relationships for staff, students and the diverse community interactions we have driven by our curriculum. 

Our responsibility is to enable Scotchies to make the most of their global context with its inherent amazing opportunities and the significant challenges that that will inevitably come their way as they lead a life well lived.

Dale Bennett

That's a wrap on Term 4 and 2019! Enjoy the summer break and have a happy and safe Christmas! https://t.co/CRKA1RkfyE