At d’Overbroeck’s, we take great pride in welcoming students from various corners of the world.
Because we want to connect with international students interested in British education, our Heads of School visit numerous countries throughout the year, meeting with families, students and agents and spreading the word about d’Overbroeck’s.
We are also delighted to work with a fantastic team of international agents that promote the school in their home countries and support students during their application experience.
As part of our international visits, our Director of Studies Andrew Gillespie was recently on a trip to Brazil, where our school was invited to talk at an educational event called Global Access Through Education (GATE)
This event provided an opportunity for families to discover more about education abroad and included a number of speakers talking about current educational issues, such as:
- Kristine Billmyer: Dean Emerita of the School of Professional Studies (SPS) at Columbia University.
- Tal Ben-Shahar: Professor PhD, Tal Ben-Shahar is an author and professor who taught the most popular course at Harvard University on “Positive Psychology,” and the University’s third most popular course on “The Psychology of Leadership”—with a total of more than 1,400 students.
- Victoria Michelotti: Director of Admissions at The School of The New York Times.
- Paul Tough: Bestseller author of “Helping Children Succeed: What Works and Why.”
- Anthony Burke: Professor of Architecture and Associate Dean of International and Engagement in the Faculty of Design Architecture and Building at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS).
Our colleague Andrew gave a talk entitled “Are we ready?” in which he considered the skills students need for the future:
“With the rapid growth of technology such as Artificial Intelligence, many aspects of the jobs we do today won’t exist in the future.
So what do students need to be ready to do jobs that do not even exist yet? The key seems to be in a range of transferable skills such as the ability to think critically, to work in teams, to have good people skills and be a good creative problem solver.
My talk focused on four things: the need to embrace technology (wisely), the need to think critically and independently, the need to work collaboratively and globally and the need to stand out and have an impact. I considered the role of schools, parents and students themselves in developing these skills and achievements.
A lot comes down to the curriculum design and the approach to learning. At d’Overbroeck’s we design a curriculum that provides opportunities for independent research, for leadership, for teamwork and for students to have an impact, whether that be in their studies or activities.
Our approach to learning is active – we encourage students to learn how to learn and how to solve problems rather than just “tell” them the answers. We are fortunate to have students from all over the world, as a well as the UK and this helps develop the global perspective students need in their careers.
At the conference, I talked of my own experience as a parent: my son started at the school just a few days ago. His first Maths homework was how to work out how long it would take to count to one billion. Not how long would it take, but how would you work it out. This was a brilliant first homework – he had to think about the process, have a hypothesis and think about its assumptions. In science on his first day he was asked to produce what he thought was the most important safety tip in a laboratory. He had never been in a lab before and he had to think about what would make sense as a safety rule. He then had to make a judgement on the most important – again a key skills of prioritising. The teacher could then combine the ideas of the class and produce a set of rules they had developed. What a great example of shared learning, and so much better than just telling them the rules! Now they felt “owned” the rules they had come up with. Lastly, in Religious Studies, he had to find out different views of religion. He asked his sister and his mother, he recorded a phone conversation with a grandparent and he filmed another conversation with another grandparent. Therefore, he used a range of technologies to collate ideas and then put them together to summarise his findings. Three brillaint homeworks on day one! They got him thinking, actively researching and building his own ideas.
And this is what education should be about. Helping students develop the techniques, the intellectual curiosity and the interest in learning that makes it enjoyable as well as highly successful. They can then cope with the unfamiliar, and respond in the fast changing environment that will shape their careers.
I very much enjoyed giving this talk, and it made me look again at what we do at the school, and hope that we are helping our students develop the key skills and attitudes to learning that they need. Through an approach that encourages, supports, listens and respects each other’s views, we are also helping our students to build the resilience required for them to learn from what goes wrong. One of the key words in resilience is “yet”- we may not be able to do something “yet”, but that does not mean we can never do it.
I stressed in the talk that this speed of change should be seen as exciting and that it creates fantastic opportunities, if a student is not ready then they are not ready “yet”; there is still time!”
We are looking forward to our next trip and welcome everyone interested in joining or learning more about d’Overbroeck’s to visit our school and the great city of Oxford, world renowned centre of education.