A more holistic approach to the child who is challenged by the fast-paced, tech-driven 21st century might prove the best platform for him to learn. This was one of the issues that emerged in the Annual Educators Congress (AECON) recently at the Marriott Hotel Grand Ballroom. Spearheaded by REX, the country’s premier learning solutions provider, the two-day event emphasized the critical role of schools as places of learning that nurture young people and help them realize their potential as whole persons. Participants and speakers from all over the world gathered to share insights and connect with the local education industry’s leading figures and decision-makers.
REX’s Whole Child Approach has been designed to encourage the child to learn, and more importantly, love learning in the institution where he spends a lot of time studying: the school. It also expands the role that the school plays in the young learner’s life by advocating the creation of a nurturing, healthy environment where he or she cannot just acquire important information but feel motivated and emboldened to achieve their dreams. This new way of thinking and doing education also maintains that in order to learn, a child must feel safe, engaged, and supported by the school and its personnel, especially the educators.
Ms. Monisha Karnani, the Director of Demonstration and Outreach at Inspired Teaching Demonstration School from Washington D.C., explains how the Whole Child Approach can revolutionize learning, and strengthen the connection between teacher and student. She says, “We start by realizing that our children, our students, are people. They are more than just an empty vessel that we pour information into— they have lives outside the school, they have families, they have friends, they have dreams, there’s so much more to them. As educators, we have to realize that it’s all of those pieces that come together to make that child and ask ourselves how do we nurture that child from every angle.”
Under the Whole Child Approach, each student’s individual gifts and talents can be developed, supported by a positive mindset that will help him overcome life’s challenges. This combination of enhanced skills and a winning attitude can prepare him for the many changes that he will encounter as he grows up. Dr. Shannon Kane, also from the Inspired Teaching and Demonstration School, says that young learners must be prepared to adapt to and respond in a healthy manner to the signs of the times. She says, “Changes are ongoing or coming in the near future, some are related to the fourth industrial revolution if you will in technology. We have to ensure that all students across the Philippines can have their needs met, in a way that brings about emotional health, safety, engagement, and support.”
Ms. Karnani adds that the Whole Child Approach is one solution to teachers and school administrators who are working to make their institutions more welcoming and attractive to the child. She elaborates, “How do we make schools a place that children remember for happy memories? Getting them to realize that is to change one’s mindset. We don’t need to recreate school in the same way that we went to school before, but we can recreate school to make it something better.”