From the Head of Studies and Innovation
I have recently been looking back on some of the articles I wrote for previous editions of The Ignatian. I was not surprised to find a common theme − that of change. The narrative about educational reform continues to get louder, while change on a global scale is obvious in our current societal predicament. So how do we cope with change when it feels as though we are constantly being asked to do so?
I think part of the answer lies in our ability to be adaptable. This can be a challenge, though, when so many of us live our lives with such structure and routine; that is, we are ‘creatures of habit’, yet we are often faced with periods of ‘instability’ on a daily or weekly basis. Interestingly, though, periods of ‘destabilisation’ are an essential part of the learning process. Renowned Soviet psychologist Lev Vygotsky wrote often about intellectual adaptation and the zone of proximal development (ZPD). For learning to occur, we need to be ‘stretched’ beyond what we already know.
Additionally, to be able to adapt to change, we need to accept the vulnerability that comes with it. Best-selling leadership author Brene Brown says: “You can’t get to courage without rumbling with vulnerability.” Vulnerability contains elements of risk, uncertainty, and emotional exposure, but without these we will not find the courage to change. In her words, we need to ‘embrace the suck’!
Our ability to demonstrate adaptability and vulnerability was evident most recently when we shifted to an online learning environment. In a very short space of time, we had to overcome our vulnerability to change and adapt to a new way of proceeding. The way in which our staff, students, and families adapted to this enforced change was outstanding. While we have now shifted back to a more traditional model of learning, it would be ignorant of us to once again become ‘creatures of habit’. The new skills and technology we have all learnt will no doubt continue to be of benefit for us into the future if we are prepared to continue to engage with them because, as we know, the future will constantly challenge us to change. We will therefore need to be adaptable to meet the demands of that time.
“Change is the law of life, and those who look only to the past and present are certain to miss the future.” − John F Kennedy
“The measure of intelligence is the ability to change.” − Albert Einstein
Mr Kain Noack
Head of Studies and Innovation