From the Desk of of the Head of School - February 9, 2018
Yesterday we welcomed twenty teachers and administrators from Beijing, China onto our campus. These school leaders from Beijing’s highest performing schools visited Nashville for a training institute at Vanderbilt Peabody College. Harding Academy was honored to host this international cohort as they observed some of the best educational practices here in America. We are grateful to have been chosen as a visit site for these motivated, engaging educators.
During our time together I was struck by one thing: we were much more alike than we were different.
While we didn’t speak the same language, as educators we did speak the same language - if you know what I mean. We discussed class size and teacher : student ratios. We discussed daily schedules and special classes we offer. We discussed admissions criteria and campus layouts. We discussed students and how they learn, effective instructional practices, our families’ values, and more. Even though we teach almost 7,000 miles apart, what we do, how we do it, and why we do it are our common bond.
As I think about the future of our school and education in general, one of the essential questions I try to keep at the forefront of my mind is, “What does it mean to grow up in a flat world?” The world in which our children will come of age will be even more interconnected than it is today. With this in mind, I couldn’t help but imagine that our Harding students could very likely be working with those Beijing teachers’ students. In that context, then, it is imperative that we share the ins and outs of our craft with each other. Our guests reiterated for me just how critical our mission is to educate and inspire young people to become thoughtful, creative, lifelong learners and self-disciplined, responsible, caring citizens.