Dear Branksome Hall Asia community members,
We have had two all-school events over the last couple of weeks, our annual Branksome Birthday Assembly and our first ever Terry Fox Run. As I watched the excited yet harmonious flow of these events, it seems to me that we have moved into a new phase in our development as a school.
In many ways, the development of a school is similar to the developmental process that a child experiences who is learning to play an instrument. Initially, the child is a novice player. She must think about playing each note and focus on getting the music “right.” The learning is very methodical, the practice is repetitive, and the music can sometimes feel like discrete sounds that are put together and read directly from a page. Seven years ago, Branksome Hall Asia was like this novice child, with teachers and administrators in each division learning their notes and the basic elements of their curriculum, and the schedule of the day and the term.
As the novice learns the feel of the strings, the combinations of notes and chords, and how the sounds flow together, her knowledge becomes integrated and sophisticated. In this way, moving from novice to expert is not about learning more but, rather, it is about learning differently. The musician focuses less on the individual notes and more on the flow and feel of the music as she progresses. So too, as a school, we have learned to put the pieces together, to integrate our actions in more complex ways, and to act together in symphony. I have had the privilege of witnessing this transformation during my tenure at Branksome and it has been remarkable.
This week, I watched as we connected together – taking care of each other and acting in combination and rhythm as one community. The events and interactions across our community now have a smooth flow, where the entire action is greater than the sum of its parts. The result is a seemingly effortless production of beautiful Music.
To take this metaphor one step further, our growth as a school directly mirrors the learning that we encourage in our students. While we want them to learn the basic skills and procedures for how to write an essay or solve a problem in mathematics, it is not long before their learning becomes less about the quantity of what is learned and more about the quality of the thinking that underlies that learning. In moving from novice to expert, they learn to focus on critical thinking, how to apply and extend their learning, and then how to solve meaningful real-world problems. Indeed, we are growing with our students at Branksome Hall Asia, as experts and real-world problem solvers. The harmony is beautiful and the music is getting better and better every day. I am so proud and excited to share this learning journey with you and to have you in our Branksome community.
Keep well the road,