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World Mag > World Magazine Fall 2021 Edition- Rebirth, Reinvent, Reroute > Director's Message at WM Fall 2021 Edition

Director's Message at WM Fall 2021 Edition

Creativity, Courage and Compassion!
Photo credit Bogdan Greavu Photography
Photo credit Bogdan Greavu Photography

At the start of my career, I was a history teacher in inner London. This was not easy work. I challenge anyone to make medieval history relevant to young people struggling to get by on tough council estates! In my very first class, one of the students threw a chair out of the window and soon exited the same way from the second floor.

Not much learning happened that day, or on many days when the work felt like crowd control. As my skills and courage grew, I understood that people pay attention to stories. History teachers have wonderful stories to tell. Sometimes on a Friday afternoon, if the stories have to be about methods of medieval execution, then at least some students are paying attention. 

History as a subject always needs to make the case for relevance alongside subjects where the point may seem more obvious, like Math or Biology. I believe that history has much to tell us about human nature, the main constant in the ebb and flow of the human story. We can draw a straight line of human vanity from Elizabethans eating worms to keep themselves thin to the growth in plastic surgery among the ‘TikTok’ generation. The French historians wrote of finding wisdom in the ‘semi-stillness’ of history, in the things that don’t change.

Yet history also teaches us that social change is a constant. The way things used to be is not the way they are now, nor is it how they will be in the future. My generation has grown up with the belief that western liberal values, such as democracy, represent the pinnacle of civilization or ‘the end of history’, as Francis Fukuyama famously and disastrously predicted. In fact, this decade is teaching us that unless we stand up for the values that we believe in, they can be eroded or even disappear.

The world is changing at an incredible speed now. Un-learning old ideas and habits and adapting with creativity is key to thriving in this reality. We want AISB students to think for themselves and challenge old assumptions with courage. And we want them to navigate their thinking with personal morals, values and compassion. AI, genetic engineering, and virtual reality, to name just three accelerating phenomena, will bring profound ethical as well as social revolutions. 

As we start this new year at AISB, we are able to take action to put our future planning in place. Our vision to be a creative, courageous
and compassionate learning community has to be made real and relevant to our community. At this point of history, with the challenges of the pandemic and the multiple global challenges that we face, I can think of no more relevant constellation of values to guide our way.

Read more articles of the World Magazine Fall 2021 Edition here: 


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