As we begin our second and busiest semester at Kilvington Grammar, we reflect on what has been achieved so far, and what is still to come.
Our senior students, will become more focused on that one day in December where they will find out their Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR).
A short-term vision indicates that this is the most important day of the school year. This is the day where results will dictate which university or TAFE placement is likely to be offered to a student, and the direction of a future career starts to solidify.
Here at Kilvington we hope that our students remember that even though the ATAR score is very important, the skills that they are learning right now in the middle of the year, and have done throughout their whole education, will play just as significant a role in life as their final ATAR score.
A well-rounded education means more than an ATAR score, playing sport or learning a musical instrument – today’s school children should also learn and develop ‘life skills’ like thinking outside the square, communication, adaptability and emotional intelligence.
Throughout the school years, our aim is to prepare our students to cope with the inevitable challenges of social media, bullying and peer pressure while also preparing them for a future employment market of multiple career and job changes.
It is for this reason, Kilvington Grammar launched the The Character Initiative in 2016 to introduce students as young as four to key traits and skills they would need to thrive in life. Each semester a new character trait is actively incorporated into the classroom.
Last year, we invested in a survey of 1,000 Victorian parents and teachers and the outcomes strongly supported our vision for The Character Initiative. Overwhelmingly, our survey respondents indicated it is life skills that are considered to be more valuable for students than their final academic result.
The survey assessed the outcomes, skills and character traits considered most important for children to gain from school as well as concerns for today’s children during their schooling years.
The key findings included:
• The most important outcomes included communication skills, having a positive attitude and a strong work -ethic followed by courage, self-esteem and problem solving.
• The character traits most parents and teachers want for children included respect, responsibility, confidence, independence and self-esteem.
• Top concerns included coping with being bullied, cyberbullying, peer pressure around drugs and alcohol, anxiety and depression and the negative impact of social media.
• 93% of respondents felt children should be learning and developing ‘life skills’ at school along with core academic subjects.
• 85% agreed that focusing on test scores like NAPLAN and ATAR does not take into account all aspects of a child’s development and capabilities.
This semester at Kilvington, our character trait focus is on perspective, which we consider to be the importance of looking beyond yourself. We support this through our global connections program which helps our students develop a deepened appreciation and mutual respect for both our commonalities and our differences.
It is so important to keep the balance of academic life with other interests. When we have asked our past Dux of the School what has led to their success, every single one said that balance was important. You have to do more than just study.
These winter days may not feel like they are particularly significant in one’s school life, so it is timely we remind all of our students that they indeed are. Keep working hard towards the end of the year and desired academic achievements. But also remember, that no matter which year level they are in, they are learning every day skills including resilience, adaptability and courage that will help them thrive in an ever-changing world.