Thursday, December 30, 2004

A reunion for all staff today, well, a working reunion that is. The first day of a 2-day long meeting with each committee in charge of various aspects of the college presenting their plans for the coming year. P opened with the usual reminders of the fundamentals of education, the Ministry's ideas as to how they are going to become a reality in our students, and how hard the various committees have been working on our college's plan for 2005, particularly as the Ministry's new direction is to give every institution more autonomy to customize its programmes for its students.

She also reminded us about setting the right examples for our students in terms of maintaining decorum in behaviour and attire, and while it sounds a bit uppity and elitist I have to agree that the institution of the Junior College is meant to train the elite of our society regardless of a student's prior background/creed/ethnicity/social position, and as such there should be some standard that we need to maintain and exemplify if our students are to acquire the bearing that they need to carry off the elite status they have the potential to attain.

Very idealistic what we want to impart to our students in the 2 years they are with us. Developing the whole being, i.e., more than just the academic aspect but also the moral, physical, social, aesthetic aspects, is nothing new to our college but in 2005 the committees are looking into ways to quantify each student's level of success in developing all these areas in their lives.

Wow, all-round testing for the students, with the assessment in black and white to accompany it. Perhaps we are beginning to see that a person's academic success is, as I've said before, a side-effect of developing the total person. Most every academic success story is about people who do everything well, and we wonder how they find the time to study amongst all the other things they are actively involved in. The simplified answer is that they learn as they do. They don't compartmentalize their study within the subjects they take; rather they learn everything at the same time, everytime, regardless of their activity they are currently engaged in.

I'm not sure filling in monitoring forms will help the process in each and every student, though. I guess it helps us to feel like we are playing an active role in nurturing the positive traits we want to see our students grow in. But ultimately it's not the immaculately filled up forms that's going to do the trick (though it'll make us look good) but rather it's in showing students that we ourselves are successful people living fulfilling lives as a result of developing these traits in ourselves that will make them desirable to our students to emulate for their own success and fulfillment.

Once again, there are good, well-intentioned ideas on the table. I hope we don't get so bogged down by processes and programmes and procedures (an easy rut to fall into) that we forget to be the successful, fulfilled people that are bursting to share the secrets of our success with our junior beings.

Perhaps now I'm being too idealistic?

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