School News & Blog

June 5, 2013

The Impact of Non-Competition

It is interesting how being involved in something can make you blind to its unique qualities. I sometimes feel this about core aspects of the School of Total Education.

This was brought to mind by a recent conversation I had with our new teacher aid, Githabul woman Del Charles. Del loves being at the school and mentioned that one of the things that has struck her most is the care and helpfulness the students show towards each other.

Del put this down to our policy of non-competition — all the children are valued just for their own selves and not because they are the best at this or that. She said that the cooperative and kind way the children behave reminds her very much of her indigenous upbringing, where looking after each other was very important. It was music to my ears to hear her say this, and I was impressed at the astuteness of her observations.

Interestingly, the responses of Gomeroi elder Roger Knox and local indigenous coordinator Ranald McIntosh Jnr, also a Gomeroi man, were very similar. They felt the education we are giving the children at the school resounded strongly with the traditional educational philosophy of our First People. Both have been encouraging Aboriginal families to enrol at the school and I am pleased to report this is gradually happening.

We will report more about how we are introducing Aboriginal and Islander studies to the school in a later blog post.