How will leadership evolve into the 21st century and beyond? How should schools be designing their curriculum and their programmes to ensure our children are ready for this leadership?
Governments, corporations and schools around the world are grappling with these questions. Despite cuts to educational spending in many developed countries, schools are still held accountable to create the “leaders of the future” and to produce the skilled workforce that we will need to continue to grow and develop. Inherently linked to leadership are the concepts of “innovation,” empathy, cultural sensitivity, and many, many more. Leadership is already a complex mix of attributes and skills, and it will become increasingly so in the future.
Facing the challenge
So, in the current climate, how do schools face this challenge? It is in exactly this climate that schools can thrive. As students from my current school experience educational trips in 10 different global locations, I cannot help but think of the opportunities being provided for our students in terms of a phrase coined by the International Baccalaureate (IB) as “International-mindedness.” International-mindedness can be defined as the ability to interpret and analyze issues from different perspectives through the lens of intercultural understanding and a respect of others. The IB furthers this definition by providing a list of attributes known as the Learner Profile. Students who engage in a curriculum that promotes international-mindedness are:
Inquirers, Knowledgeable, Thinkers, Communicators, Principled,
Open-minded, Caring, Risk-Takers, Balanced and Reflective.
If we think about the attributes that our future leaders will require many are contained within this Learner Profile. These attributes challenge us to think about a school curriculum beyond subject-based learning outcomes. A curriculum that prepares our leaders of the future must delve into and grapple with issues that have personal, local and global relevance and significance. If such a curriculum builds from Primary School, students will have developed an awareness of different cultural perspectives and an appreciation for the commonality and the complexity of human experience. Schools may even develop leaders who understand that other people, with their differences, can also be right. How much of an impact would such students have on a world entangled in conflicts based on cultural, religious, economic and political differences?
Above and Beyond
Schools must purposefully continue to shape our culture to not only focus on student academic achievement but also to go above and beyond to provide our students with the competencies that they, as global citizens and leaders, are going to need to confidently embrace the challenges and opportunities of our world. Schools can develop international-mindedness by educating the human spirit and focusing on the importance of relationships.
By Bryan Nixon
Head of School