In the Sydney Morning Herald on Monday Dr Timothy Hawkes, the Headmaster of The Kings School, listed ten which things which he felt were not covered adequately by the standard curriculum. How to:
Live in a community and forge good relationships;
Know yourself and what you believe;
Handle intimacy and sex;
Control emotions and impulses;
Manage financial matters;
Do practical things, to clean, cook, make and mend;
Be good mannered and know etiquette;
Be resilient and deal with grief and loss.
I think this is a good list and, while all need family input and some are more appropriate for high school, I feel that John Colet School addresses many of them. But it did occur to me that, as in school so in life, you can’t pass a test you haven’t studied for. All the lessons in the world on kindness, for example, won’t get a jot of compassion out of someone who hasn’t worked to make it a natural part of their dealings with others. Making a virtue natural means hearing about it, seeing others live it and then, most importantly, practising it until it becomes natural. In this way the above list can become a practical guide for life rather than an unrealistic pipedream. We as parents and teachers help enormously when, for example, we model and encourage the children to control impulses, accept responsibility and be resilient.
As the Headmaster has been away sick this week, this 2008 comment is from the archive.Also, because of illness and last minute timetabling difficulties, our final round debate with Alexander School has been postponed.