The Education You Need

20 May 2021

Inspiration and ideas for newsletter pieces sometimes come at the strangest times. Recently, a left-leaning, Snoopy-loving friend posted this cartoon on her social media page. In it, the mild-mannered and renowned philosopher Charlie Brown turns to his classmate and tells her straight, “No one is going to give you the education you need to overthrow them”. Responses to my friend’s post ranged from the love heart emoji to “Terrifyingly true!”

I wrote “Inspiring!”  

We hear a great deal in the media and from politicians about preparing children for the future they will inherit. Much of the rhetoric centres around being ‘job ready’, and mastery of technology is paramount.   At Glenaeon, we agree that these are essential elements of a rounded education. Still, when we make them our focus, the capacity of an education system to inspire and inform the next generation of change-makers is savagely diminished.

So, how are we preparing our students to resolve some of the messes we both inherited and created?    How does Glenaeon give students the education they need to ‘overthrow’ and create a new, more equitable and sustainable future? It is interesting to answer this question through the lens of the 6c’s of Education in the 21st Century: Character Education, Citizenship, Communication, Critical Thinking, and Collaboration. Developed by Michael Fullan O.C, Global Leadership Director of New Pedagogies for Deep Learning (NPDL) and a worldwide authority on educational reform, the 6 ‘s are inherent in Glenaeon’ s 5A’s program:

Academic – The Main Lesson sequence places a child in time. While in Primary School, teachers immerse children in imaginative pictures that inspire Character and Citizenship; in High School, students are taught to Critically analyse information, sources and their place in the fabric of society.

Artisan & Aesthetic – From craft and beeswax models to 3D printing and performing in an orchestra, a Glenaeon education is inherently one of Creativity.

Altruistic -  Belonging to a community where we abide by a respectful social contract in our interactions and give of ourselves inside and outside the school requires Communication, Collaboration and Citizenship. Be that through caring for Scotts Creek, serving on the Student Eco Group or performing service as part of the Duke of Edinburgh program or in the Northern Territory working with the Aboriginal students at Macfarlane Primary School.  

Active Wilderness –To journey with a group in a remote location (or even on a bushwalk to Warner’s Park) requires Communication, Collaboration and Citizenship.  To do it well builds Character.

Preparing for an uncertain future requires much more than being ‘job ready or ‘tech savvy’. Schools must create environments, and teach in ways, that impart capacities to young people that encourage them to develop and enact new ideas and creative responses to problems. Charlie Brown might be stunned to learn that at a small school in Middle Cove called Glenaeon, we are absolutely preparing to be overthrown by the students we teach, and the future looks very bright indeed.

With thanks to Charles M. Schulz.


Dani Finch
Deputy Head of School (K-6)