There is a theory that the current education system is geared too much towards a binary assessment of children. Too much weight is given to a child’s innate technical ability to understand and digest subject matter. Children are evaluated on the dual notion of good or bad.
At Oppidan, our aim is to implement a more holistic approach to how children are assessed.
We believe teaching should focus on the intangible attributes that make up the real self-image of a child. This way, a path can be laid to help determine the best approach to take, individual to them and to their way of learning. Our mentoring philosophy provides, we hope, the much-needed change to help children tackle the current challenges they face. Our approach helps children feel empowered, independent and confident throughout their learning,
I asked five of Oppidan’s mentors which skills they thought important to teach their children, away from the foundations of technical subject-specific tuition.
1. Overcoming perfectionism
‘Children should try and distance themselves from what other people think. They should trust that all they need to do and worry about is doing their best. It is vital for children to know early on that mistakes are not only “ok” but also essential for their development.’
2. Building self-worth
‘Tutors often focus on the importance of confidence, particularly in interviews for pre-tests. This is a mistake; instead, tutors should help guide children to feel comfortable within their own talents and their own successes commensurate with their ability. Self-esteem is vital, not least, in presenting in front of one’s own peers.’
3. Being adaptable
‘The values on which we judge employability are in a state of perpetual change and children must be given the tools to adapt to these shifting expectations.’
4. Enjoying education
‘Children should aspire towards a humble curiosity in a wide array of subjects in order to value their education for the sake of education, not because “it is in the test”.’
5. Valuing empathy and cooperation
‘In our radically changing modern context, the ability to empathise with fellow students will be a defining factor in a child’s long-term success or failure. Tutors and mentors should help students learn to work as a team and to trust the abilities of others.’