Shaping Students for a Purposeful & Fulfilling Life

I have the privilege at the moment of sitting in on a Year 12 Modern History class three times a week. The teacher has not been able to return to work yet due to medical advice, so the class is being taught on-line from the teacher’s home and are making good progress. It has caused me to reflect again on the purpose of education: a topic I wrote about a few weeks ago. 

Any school subject offers students a number of things at different levels. At the largest level it is part of a suite of activities a school engages in to shape a student for a purposeful and fulfilling life.

Subjects help inform students about the world, society and themselves. Any subject gives some practical application in life but also expands a student’s perspective on the world, develops their thinking and gives them transferable skills. In a Christian school, we also direct their attention to the orderliness of the world as coming from a Creator who has designed it for a purpose. Subjects also inter-relate and show students that the world is complex and connected. They teach them about their particular interests and abilities.

I walked down to the class today and talked to another student who does Ancient History. She is also good at Mathematics; a combination that does not always go together. Subjects help students recognise that they are unique too. Studying a subject with others also opens up social and collaborative opportunities.

You will notice that none of this is connected to an ATAR or an HSC band. When we emphasise those overly much, we diminish the other possibilities learning opens up and it usually leads to a lower ATAR in the end. 

Great academic results come from good learning which encompasses a range of activities and perspectives.

I want all GPCC students to do well academically as measured by HSC and NAPLAN results, but more than that, I want those results to be the end of a high quality teaching and learning environment. GPCC has a good history of the majority of our students getting into the Band 4 and Band 5 range for the HSC. Focusing on quality learning rather than academic results, will help them move up the Bands without even realising it.

You can help by talking about the broader range of what education does for them and not focusing purely on a grade or a mark. Then together we can help them fly!

Phillip Nash serves as the Principal at Green Point Christian College. Phillip has a Masters in Educational Leadership, a Bachelor of Arts in History and English, a Diploma of Teaching, and has just begun a PhD program. He has been teaching for over 30 years and has served in senior school leadership in New Zealand, Australia and Indonesia.