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Principals stress the power of collaboration

Berkeley Institute principal Phyllis Curtis-Tweed (File photograph)

The principals of ten public and private schools have released a joint statement stressing the importance of collaboration during the beginning of the new school year.

Quoting one of history’s greatest artists Michelangelo, the letter opens, “I am still learning” — a motto the principals say reminds them that “life is a lifelong process”.

The letter calls on parents to teach their children from their own life experience and stay informed about technological advancements that are changing the face of education.

Numerous sources of information are mentioned to help parents maximise their children’s learning outside of the classroom including Khan Academy and educational support programmes freely available to members of the Bermuda Library.

The principals who signed the letter are: Phyllis Curtis-Tweed, Berkeley Institute; Tina Duke, Dellwood Middle School; David Horan, Warwick Academy; Francine McMahon, T.N. Tatem Middle School; Sue Moench, Mount Saint Agnes; Linda Parker, Bermuda High School for Girls; Kalmar Richards, CedarBridge Academy; Carlos Symonds, Somersfield Academy; Ted Staunton, Saltus Grammar School; Lois Tucker, Bermuda Institute.

Here is the full statement: “‘I am still learning’ — Michelangelo

“As we reflect on the beginning of this new school year, Michelangelo’s motto found above, reminds us that learning is a lifelong process. While the formal process in our schools is essential, Michelangelo’s humility reminds us that there is a broader context involved in education.

“From this perspective we would like to point out that as ‘teachers’, we are at our best when we are ‘students’ also; ever expanding our understanding of subject matter and best practices to enhance the learning experience. In this same light, we would like to remind parents that they are their children’s first ‘teachers’.

“This role of family and other stakeholders, in the development of young people was captured in a quote by Albert Einstein when he said, ‘Example isn’t another way to teach, it is the only way to teach.’

“All parents have something to teach their children from their life experience; notwithstanding their background. The revolution in technology provides a platform for an enlightened perspective on the nature of the divide between teacher and student. We often see parents needing their children to explain features on smart phones and grandparents waiting for young grandchildren to help them to use the internet.

“Extensive research has proven that a person’s understanding of any topic is best reinforced with them when they attempt to teach it. In this information age, the new technologies are galvanising a collaborative approach to schooling and broader education.

“There are numerous free and inexpensive support systems available to all families who have internet access, including Khan Academy and educational support programmes freely available to every member of the Bermuda Library. The library can also assist those families without internet access.

“So as we begin this school year, we invite all fellow educators, parents and other stakeholders in the community, to reflect on Einstein’s reference to the power of example.

“Let’s work in a spirit of collaboration from one end of the island to the other, through private and public schools, to foster a culture that enhances the growth and development of all our island’s young people.”