Some of the most important messages in life can be said in just three words. ‘I love you’, ‘never give up’, ‘be the change’ or even ‘let it go’ might be examples many of us have used at some point. When interviewing new employees, a favourite question is to ask the applicant to describe themselves in three words, which can be very revealing, especially when linked to what they are like as a teacher. Sometimes organisations will try to summarise their own character, or distinguishing features, in three words. At Brighton College Bangkok we have been thinking about our educational values and how they might also be captured in three words. We have suggested that curiosity, confidence and kindness might be a good starting point.
Curiosity: We want all our pupils to be academically ambitious, for we know that exam results open doors to opportunity in the future. We want them to question the world around them, develop critical thinking skills and therefore become innovative in problem solving. They should be able to take measured risks and in so doing learn at the edge of their comfort zone. We encourage a love of learning for its own sake.
Confidence: We know that children learn best when they feel secure and happy, some might say ‘comfortable in their own skin’. They are all different, with their own passions and learning styles. When they are treated as individuals, they can grow in confidence to be ‘the best version of themselves’ (not of someone else) with the resilience and adaptability that are so important in the modern world. Respect for oneself supports respect for others.
Kindness: I believe all parents want their children to be good people, to have integrity and courtesy, treating others as they would wish to be treated themselves. In doing so they will make a positive difference to those around them, and to our wider society and environment. To achieve this they need to feel empowered, thus experience of leadership and teamwork are vital. We want them to become young people not just of success, but of value too.
These three small words can therefore become short-hand for all that we are passionate about, indeed they capture why it is such a privilege to be involved in education in the first place. In aiming to deliver these values, we, as teachers and parents, need to role-model what we say to our own children. ‘Do your best’ – that is all we can ask of anyone.
We live in a time of great opportunity, also new challenges. As we at Brighton College Bangkok look to the future, our attitude is, of course, ‘bring it on!‘.