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Creating Change in Schools

Creating Change in Schools

I had a great day last week in Chiang Mai, Thailand!


As a former Head of School I’ve been honored to be invited onto the school’s Board of Governors. Last year and again this year I attended the Grade 12 Graduation as a Board Member. This year I was also invited to attend the PYPX! That’s what the Grade 5 students called it. Adults may refer to it as the Primary Years Program Exhibition, an annual event in most International Baccalaureate Schools.


Over the years I have attended many PYP Exhibitions, all terrific in their own way, however, this one was very special indeed.


Right from the beginning, which was a music, song and dance performance, there was an electrifying spark of enthusiasm and positivity in the air. I couldn’t help but feel inspired, happy and privileged to be there.


I could hear the students singing with such gusto, rhythm and joy about their dreams and their wishes for their future, something very dear to my heart. You see in many schools educators are still preparing students for the future that they have experienced. Many parents and educators think of successful schools as the same as those they have attended or would have liked to attend. However, every child performing in the PYPX was born in the 21st Century and according to the research of Dr. James Flynn each Gen Z child is 9 Intelligence Points (IQ) smarter than Gen Y and 9 more intelligent than Gen X and 9 more again more intelligent than the Baby Boomers!


Well, the PYPX threw everything about the past out the window and used a whole new approach to ensure students researched, surveyed and arrived at opinions that were the result of investigating their own passions and interests. Their conceptual understanding was linked to awareness raising, taking responsibility and bringing about change.


Visitors were invited to have conversations with every student for the remainder of the day as they presented their learning, their understanding and their actions for change in models, surveys, quizzes, slideshows, experiments and artifacts. It was so exciting!


A few years back at this same school I had formed a Parent Focus Group to create our next strategic plan and I still remember the anxiousness, fears and concerns of many parents commenting on how negative the future will be, and how hard it would be for their children to ‘get a good job’.


In stark contrast, I saw the PYPX inspiring people to change, not just the students, but teachers and parents too. I witnessed the students educating themselves and others about world issues, making changes in their community and showing responsibility to take action to make their environment, their lifestyle and their world a better place.



Their collective influence and impact was tangible!



The students I observed were change agents and disrupters taking informed, passionate and committed steps forward into their future. Congratulations to the teachers, administrators, mentors and parents who guided and encouraged the students along the way enabling and empowering them (but never taking over) to create their own positive and solution-oriented, creative futures.


You rock Grade 5!


If you would like any tips on how to bring about change at your school, download the Think Strategic Whitepaper below or contact Maxine here.


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