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Dhaka Tribune

An Oxford first for Bangladesh

How schools can expect high performance from all their students

Update : 16 Aug 2023, 09:09 AM

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has given education’s forward-thinkers a roadmap in its Future of Education and Skills 2030. This gives clarity on the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and values that students will need to shape their futures.

These things inform the approaches of the world’s most high performing school systems and the world’s best schools; they focus on future skills, not past knowledge, and concentrate on collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity.

To make this happen, a commitment to getting and keeping great teachers, through a sustained investment in professional improvement, gives them enduring continuity and sustained success. These systems and schools take the belief that all students can learn and turn it into an expectation that all students can achieve high performance in a range of learning contexts.

It’s happening here

Haileybury Bhaluka is the first school in Bangladesh committed to high performance. By challenging traditional notions of student capability, it teaches students how to think and how to learn and it expects to see high performance across the curriculum. Through its $15 million scholarship scheme, it has created the largest investment in students in the country’s history and, as importantly, attracted the brightest minds to its school.

With the best students in Bangladesh upon admission, it expects to see the best outcomes upon graduation. Haileybury Bhaluka has a unique understanding of the qualities it wishes to develop in its students, creating leaders of tomorrow through a clear profile of student values, attitudes, and aptitudes. Its mission is to create advanced performers, enterprising learners and global leaders.

Its impressive international curriculum builds personalized pathways for its students and the school expects high performance on each route taken. Explicit instruction on learning helps students be confident about education and personalized assessment ensures students know what to do next.

Set within a progressive and supportive environment, where well-being comes first, students trust their teachers and their school; the place has an assured atmosphere as everything just works how it should. The school measures its performance against the top schools in the world and notably with the select group of Haileybury schools globally.

International inspection helps verify its claims. With a feverish and infectious culture of self-improvement, nothing stands still for long, as evidence-led improvement supports transformative professional learning.

Leadership matters

Schools like Haileybury have governors and leaders who see success founded on strong teaching and learning, set within a positive performance culture. Schools like Haileybury centre-stage student learning and promote research-backed pedagogy. Schools like Haileybury get and keep the best teachers, as the culture supports strong student engagement and strong professional practice. At its heart, however, is an understanding of what shapes student success.

Shaping student success

Expert teachers shape student success in parallel ways. Like the strands of DNA, inextricably connected, expert teachers develop student cognitive characteristics and build their learning behaviours. Educational research shows that successful students develop and combine these competencies over time.

For cognitive success, there is an explicit focus on teaching students the skills of analysis, creating, metathinking, and realizing. In building better learning behaviors, students are taught to be agile, emphatic and hard-working. Far from being abstract concepts with alien environments, these skills are taught in subject contexts and in normal lessons. Far from being one-off eureka moments, these skills are developed through deliberate and systematic practice.

Better teaching supports higher performance, and higher performance builds positivity and enjoyment.

Social mission for outstanding outcomes

The leading schools around the world have adopted high performance learning and have great stories to tell of the impact on their students, their teachers, and their communities. Haileybury Bhaluka joins these leading institutions by introducing high performance learning to Bangladesh. In doing so, it is keen to share its approaches and methods with other school leaders.

To believe that all students are capable of high performance means that this is not the preserve of a social elite, but the platform for a social movement in education. We intend to share our social mission in a launch event led by the world’s leading expert in cognition education, Oxford’s Professor Deborah Eyre. Watch this space. www.highperformancelearning.co.uk

Simon O’Grady is the Founding Headmaster of Haileybury Bhaluka, Bangladesh’s first outstanding international school. As former CEO of Oxford’s High Performance Learning, he understands the factors that shape student success at the highest levels and outlines here how schools can systematically expect high performance from all students.

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