What does it take to inspire
There’s a quote from Antoine de Saint-Exupéry that perfectly sums up Charlotte Lush’s teaching philosophy: “If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks of work but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.”
Charlotte is Lindisfarne’s Head of Senior School, and her mission is to infuse a passion for lifelong learning in her students every day. Working with the school’s music students is the perfect platform for igniting this passion. “So much of our work in the Arts is about connection and relevance,” she says.
In an ambitious project for the Stage 5 Music final term, Charlotte decided to challenge her learners to use Solution Fluency in answering a powerful question: How can a small group of people help change the world and can everyone do it?
Where do we
begin to transform?
“Conversations in the Arts aren’t about winners or losers,” Charlotte states. “They are about what we want to say, how we want to say it and why we feel compelled to speak.” As such, she encouraged her learners to take a look at Sir Bob Geldof’s infamous Live Aid project from 1985.
This event is still known as ‘The Day the Music Changed the World’ and is widely regarded as one of the most historically relevant live concerts, second only to 1969’s legendary Woodstock. Thus inspired, Charlotte’s students began their own investigations of pressing world issues that called for action.
“When addressing the question of whether a small group of people can change the world,” she instructed, “we first need to establish what it is that needs changing.”
Once they chose a problem that resonated with them, students were to take initiative in building a solid course of action through research and collaborative brainstorming—much like how Live Aid and similar benefits are engineered. Of course, these are processes that are at the heart of the Essential Fluencies.
How do we plot a
path to success?
The next step was for students to choose a medium for taking action in this problem-solving adventure. Some wanted to write songs about the issue they chose to focus on while others settled on producing original documentaries.
No matter the vehicle they chose to express themselves, the students took the lead and made the learning happen their own way. “Student engagement and ownership of their learning are key,” Charlotte asserts. “Everything has context and relevance which makes it so much easier for students to understand why they are learning in their subject areas.”
All in all, Charlotte couldn’t have been more pleased with her student’s accomplishments. “I would be less than truthful if I didn’t acknowledge that this shift in the teacher as the deliverer of content to that of facilitator has not been a monumental shift,” she recalls. “But the tectonic plates are shifting and the results are impressive!”
How do we measure
growth and progress?
How do we continue to
improve and excel?
As Charlotte reflects on this project and others, she can’t help but marvel at the transformations that have happened at her school. “Over the past one and a half years of working with Lee at Lindisfarne, many things have changed,” she says. “Teachers now feel empowered to experiment with their personal learning and also that of their students.”
And what about Charlotte’s students? “The most exciting development is observing students taking ownership of their own learning and engaging in that process,” says Charlotte. “By giving the mind a ‘why’ it drives the motivation for a lifetime.”
So what’s next? Among many other things, Charlotte intends “to focus on the importance of student voice, not just in terms of their physical environment or resourcing but fundamentally in terms of all aspects of their learning journey.”