Those of you who are regular readers of our newsletter (click here to subscribe!) may well remember last month when we announced our new team member, Tsoey who is taking over from our long serving student advisor Mary Anne. I’m pleased to be able to tell you staff and students all that Mary Anne has now had her baby, Daniel, and that both mother and baby are doing well. I doubt the father will stop grinning until 2016 either.
Seeing the pictures of this new life reminds me of my own time as a father, and of the fears and worries that I’m sure every parent feels for their children. First it’s simple but essential things like are they healthy, eating right and getting enough sleep. But eventually our thoughts turn to the future and to what they’re going to do with their lives.
Education is, of course, key in the development of our children. To do the best they can in the world they need to learn about it in a safe, productive environment. And yet, for all its importance, it is truly stunning how badly our schools and colleges let down our young people time and again. Given how many of our political leaders like to trade on their image as family people, it’s shocking how little they seem to know about the individual needs that children have.
I’ve spoken about it in the past, lamenting the assembly line approach to regular education with its obsession with Victorian era testing that unfairly writes off potential and cares solely about grades. Too many children come through the system forced to learn things they really don’t care about and never given a chance to explore the things that really interest them. Would we remember Beethoven had he not the chance to learn piano? Or Leonardo da Vinci if he had grown up a peasant who never had a pen?
Now, ADL doesn’t really do much in the way of early-years education (though you can never be too sure what the next new course might bring!). But as they get older, options expand. They can be encouraged to study the things that really interest them, to better prepare them for a future career. Even Universities and employers are forced to think outside the box these days. With so many candidates with the same grades in the same subjects they want to see evidence of outside interests to help separate applicants. That something can be as little as a short course in something relevant.
So with the run up to the festive season, maybe it’s time to consider what you can do to help your tomorrow people, your children, prepare for their future.
Until next time.
Daryl Tempest Mogg
Director of Vocational Studies
Academy for Distance Learning.