If you haven’t yet seen the incredibly powerful documentary film, Most Likely to Succeed, I write today to humbly implore you to do so. To make it easy for those in Washington, D.C., Blyth-Templeton Academy is hosting a free screening at 7PM on Thursday, June 1st at the Miracle Theater in Capitol Hill (RSVP here). And for those not in D.C., hopefully you can find a screening near you here.
One of our fundamental beliefs at Blyth-Templeton Academy is that asking good questions is far more important that regurgitating correct answers. I love this movie because it rises above providing standard, ideological education answers and instead asks some of today’s most important questions about education, schooling, teaching and learning:
- “Over 100 years ago the United States went from one-room schoolhouses to the robust, industrial model we have now. It was a transformation that was nothing short of miraculous. Perhaps it’s time for another transformation?”
- “Right now we are attempting to educate a generation of kids who will work in jobs that have not been invented yet. They will be called on to solve problems in a world so complex we can’t even imagine it. How do you design a school system that prepares kids for that?”
- “While turning students into better collaborators, or having them think more critically might seem like a great idea, won’t changing a student’s approach to education this radically inhibit their ability to get into a good college?”
But more importantly, the film captures the questions, the humanity, and the uncertainty of today’s parents:
- “Do I want him to do well on the SAT? Why? To get into college? Well, why? I’ve had to really reexamine all of those things — and why do I want all the things that I want for him? Because it’s not like I’m only trying to get him into an Ivy League school or something. I’m really not. I want him to be happy. But I also don’t want him to have any doors closed.”
- “As I consider the kind of education I want for my own daughter, how do I predict what will give her the best shot at future happiness? At being successful — whatever that means?”
So what does it mean to be successful, and who really is most likely to succeed these days?! Blyth-Templeton’s “profile of a graduate” is my best answer, as we have designed our program to ensure that all graduates will:
- Understand their gifts and how they can use them in a way that brings them joy and serves others;
- Be confident in their abilities and prepared for post-secondary education, career, and life;
- Look at challenges as opportunities, not as obstacles;
- Be global citizens, as well as engaged and empathetic members of their communities;
- Think creatively and communicate effectively; and
- Be self-directed, lifelong learners.
So whether student success to you as a parent is for your child to get into a highly selective college, become highly skilled, or be happy, we believe that this need not be an either/or. We believe that the straightest line to all three is figuring out what motivates your child to love learning, developing a project or goal as unique as they are, and supporting them as they work to change the world.
Or perhaps better articulated by Sir Ken Robinson in the final minutes of Most Likely to Succeed, “Human resources are like the world’s natural resources — they are buried beneath the surface. If we find things that energize us — things that we love to do — you can’t keep us down.”
Clearly this film has energized me — and I wouldn’t implore you to see it unless I was as confident as I am that it will do the same for you. And when it does, please consider helping the film’s producers organize a screening in your community.
After all, it just might be a project that changes your world!