Authenticity

As educators, we understand that schooling is not simply about ensuring students have the appropriate skills for the 21st century but they become better people.  Every school system has a responsibility to articulate and integrate its values into the learning and teaching. Over the Christmas break, some of the headlines made me think of the current state of the world and the enormous challenges we face in overcoming poverty, global warming, terrorism and burgeoning first world debt. 

It seems imperative to me given the above that every school and school system (no matter what its worldview) has to be even more committed to ensuring its students become more tolerant of others, understanding of the challenges we face as a global community, more socially responsible and to be change agents for a better world. As we begin another new school year, one of the important issues for me as a system leader,  is to continue the work of  strengthening the Catholic identity of our schools. This must be something very tangible in our Catholic learning communities – not an add on but an integrated experience for all.  

I have always said that Catholic schools should be good schools – places of quality learning and teaching where the reign of God is present. Authenticity becomes then an experience not an expression (simply identifying something as ‘authentic’ doesn’t necessarily make it so).  The work of Catholic schools is to ensure its worldview and values permeates every aspect of school life through the:

  1. quality of relationships
  2. quality of learning and teaching
  3. liturgical and prayer life of the school
  4. strong relationship with the parish
  5. symbols and spaces in the built environment
  6. contribution of the school to the local Catholic and broader communities

For me, being authentic is not a call to perfection but a challenge to be become a better person in one’s personal and professional life.


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