This building is the largest project the School has ever undertaken and when complete it is going to be nothing short of amazing. Its design is underpinned by the way of teaching that we have been developing and implanting at the school for more than ten years now: Realms of Thinking.
As you have been hearing from us for a long time, education has to change. We have a moral imperative to ensure our young people have the skills, dispositions, character traits and depth of knowledge that they will need in order to thrive in a world where Artificial Intelligence (AI) is transforming employment and opportunities. Schools cannot continue to focus solely on depth of knowledge; they have to teach for creativity and character, which are skills and dispositions that AI cannot replicate.
While academic excellence, a holistic education and a huge range of extra-curricular opportunities will of course remain fundamental to who we are and what we offer, we need to go further. Our students will of course continue to pursue an ATAR and be graded A to E in their specific subjects, but we want to also be able to evaluate how each student is developing their creative capacity.
You are likely aware that we are currently working on a project with the University of Melbourne. They are assisting us to create assessment tools that will measure how well each student is developing each of the 16 Realms of Thinking dispositions.
This work will eventually result in a new reporting system, a Learner Profile. The Learner Profile will have three parts to it, academic grades for each subject area, assessment of the dispositions and skills that are vital for a young person’s employment in an AI age, and ultimately an assessment of their character, arguably the key attribute that employers look at when engaging a new staff member.
Ultimately the Realms of Thinking Learner Profile will be credentialed by the University of Melbourne, which will make it a very valuable qualification that could possibly be used for direct entry to a university or as a CV for a future employer. What an amazing opportunity for the students at St Paul’s School!
I travelled to Melbourne late last term to ask the University of Melbourne team what they thought of our work. They said it is truly ground-breaking and is moving in the direction they have long-wished education would move in. They are keen for St Paul’s School to share Realms of Thinking and the Learner Profile with as many schools as possible.
The Learner Profile will offer a truly holistic view of a child’s education. This is because Realms of Thinking and academic achievement are not mutually exclusive. Rather, they are two sides of the same coin. Realms of Thinking works hand in glove with the curriculum to help students master the basics while also growing their capacity to become innovative thinkers.
With all of that in mind, please have a sneak peak inside the Innovation Precinct, and stay tuned for details about the official opening on 25 January next year.