Ms Anne Xmas speech
Dear parents, colleagues and students,
So, 2017 is coming to a close, and we are still celebrating Christmas
It seems odd in this frenzy of bullet-speed changes we are experimenting. Let us recap some of them;
According to Alex Williams in The New York Times, artificial intelligence is making countless professions obsolete.
- Last year, a prototype-robotic surgeon outperformed human surgeons in a test where both had to repair the severed intestines of a live pig.
- The Kira Systems is cutting the time that some lawyers need to review contracts by 20 to 60%.
- A robotic co-pilot known as Darpa flew and landed a 737. Pilots already spend an average of only seven minutes flying the plane on an average flight.
- The company Uber recently announced plans to buy 24 000 SUV Volvo to roll out as a driverless fleet between 2019 and 2021. That is just over a year from now.
70% of the jobs in the developing world will have disappeared in ten years.
In such an unbridled and frantic rhythm of life, how do we keep our sanity? What can schools do? How do we prepare our children for the future?
Ken Robinson advises us to teach our youth with the intrinsic rewards of awe –awe being described as the powerful emotion we feel when we experience something so vast we cannot really wrap our minds around it.
I had two interesting experiences last week. I had read a book with curious -I thought- new facts about African animals and offered the 6th grade teachers to talk about it. As I was speaking I felt something was wrong; I was not generating the same enthusiasm as I used to in the past. I felt odd, old, helpless and the words generation gap came to my mind.
A few days later, I was facing forty 19th graders to talk about the IB: their choices, their expectations, their stand on life and we had a good time for about an hour.
So, on one hand, I had been on a fact-delivering mission which many of them already knew about, and with the 10th graders I had been on a heart-spilling mission where there was passion and feelings and emotions. I had been like reaching to the very core of the human being: our quest and purpose in life.
That experience gave strength to the direction our school has been emphasizing of late.
In the last two years, we have been introducing new classes in the High School; moments of self-reflection, mindfulness and relaxation where one takes time to take care of oneself, discover its own path, learn how to pay attention to his longings, dare recognize them and voice them out.
Know thyself. It is an old adage, more valid now than ever before. It is what is going to help our children keep their balance in this fast-changing world for it calls upon the immutable part of ourselves.
In the words of Ken Robinson again, we need to train our mind to be mindful of all the extraordinary beauty, knowledge and human potential we consistently take for granted.
Remember that our origin lies in the crucibles of an exploding star.
Awe-based learning is fueled by curiosity, imagination and creativity. We need to encourage questioning and start emphasizing awe-inspired contents.
With this in mind, it feels safe to believe that we will be celebrating many more Christmases.