Creating Global Leaders
At the end of the Easter break I returned from India with our Year 10 students. We had been visiting as part of our Indian Exchange programme with The Modern School in Delhi. It was a wonderful trip as always and I have to offer my admiration for the girls who acquitted themselves admirably. I couldn’t be prouder. My gratitude too to the parents who kept engaged with us via a Whats App group chat. It really added another dimension to the trip.
Shorty after returning I presented at an Education Conference at the Vintners Hall in London on the topic of Creating Global Leaders. This was in response to a request to share the vast international work that we do and why we do it. Remarkable though the Indian Exchange is it is only a part of the greater global education we are engaged in. And so this blog reflects the basis of that talk.
Our vision includes the statement
“to become responsible citizens with a social conscience, able to lead others and act as change agents for a better society”.
That society is a global one and this vision is reflected in the OECD Global Competences Framework. It sees schools enabling students to gain a fact based and critical worldview. This in particular resonated with my current reading focus “Factfullness” by Hans Rosling. He makes the case, quite convincingly, that as a rule we tend to adopt a very negative and pessimistic view of the world, regardless of the actual data. Often relying unquestioningly on out dated data. We want our students to know the real facts and the real people. We achieve this in part by bring people together from across the globe. So just last week we said goodbye to students from two Indian schools that had been visiting us and we frequently host students from China and other countries as part of our International Integration Programme.
The framework also says schools should promote the value of diversity. If you know this school well that should be abundantly clear but its important for us that it’s not just our school community but the wider world we value, particularly when aspects of it can be challenging. PISA defines global competences through Knowledge, Skills, Values and Attitudes, which are developed through Understanding, Engagement, Social Action and Experience. This very much reflects our approach and our international education programme.
Apart from the trips we teach International Relations in Year 8, map the Global Goals across our House values, participate in the Global Learning Programme and were winners of the Global Social Leaders Award. Our students are the only UK school to attend the Community Development Leadership Summit (CDLS) in India with 25 different countries, engaging with students from those countries in a constructive dialogue. Delegations from all over the world, including South Korea have visited our school and its students to discuss their educational experience. And of course we take our students to Silicon Valley, Japan, India, Russia for educational visits, working with their international peers.
But why? When so many schools are still pulling up the drawbridge and closing down foreign travel and exchanges. Yes there is risk involved and a great deal of hard work but often that’s the case with anything worthwhile. You cannot learn about the world in a classroom alone, you have to engage with it. This is more important than ever otherwise we leave the leadership in the world to a privileged view and we all know where that can take us.