In a world where all to often many expect success to be determined by and reliant purely upon academic learning, we overlook one of the several of the key foundational blocks to a happy, successful and fulfilling life.
Understanding who we are as individuals, and being introduced to the concept of who we can become, is the start of the journey that can enable us to envisage what is important to us, and who we can and should aspire to be.
Encouraging and teaching every student to learn about and understand themselves, is the key to them determining the values that will be important to them, and what they can aspire to be in their lives.
Having this ability to think about ourselves promotes self awareness, self-confidence, self motivation, inspiration, informed decision making and creativity.
In a time where the teacher is in many cases as important as the parent, encouraging each child or student to consider who they are – and the role they will play in society, enables them to reflect on what is important to them as individuals. It also enables them to appreciate the values they have, and what will provide them with a happy and fulfilling future.
Developing a sense of self-awareness will guide each individual student to understand how to engage with their peers, and the types of behavior that will attract the positive and ward off the negative influences and will help develop a meaningful respect both for themselves and others.
Many might question the validity of the role and responsibility of academic education, the school or the teacher in providing such a guiding influence, however we pause to remember that a school student of any age, spends as much as 50% of their time either at school, or involved with their studies. it becomes unavoidable. And this is particularly the case where both parents are working in careers outside of the home.
If we as educators are to pride ourselves for the work we do, and truly embrace the satisfaction of the work in which we are involved, the role we play in every student’s life and formative years, and the way we behave and conduct ourselves with our students, then the importance of our influence in their lives should be recognized.
How a student interacts with other people and the various situations they encounter, and how they conducts themselves in society, is as important as learning and remembering any academic information, possibly even more so.
A 21st Century education must play a role in providing this level of knowledge and awareness to all students, if for no other reason than research now indicates that more than 60% of employers are now complaining that while many of the new job applicants have the academic qualifications needed, so many of them are inadequately prepared and ill-equipped with the Life Skills needed to fill the position.
Psychologists and psychiatrists would be the first to confirm that the attention and guidance that a student receives in their formative years will strongly influence the way in which they will eventually bring up their own children. While it would be more than reasonable for any teacher to suggest that they did not select teaching as a career to have to become “replacement/pseudo” parent, the way the structure of society has changed so dramatically in the last 3 to 4 decades, education needs to realize that appropriate inclusions to the curriculum should reflect those changes.