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Future-proofing Your Son - Bachelor of Self Confidence

My blog this week is based on several years of observing and teaching in both government and private schools. I pose this question often to parents and I hope you can stop and consider your answer.

If any school could guarantee only one thing that your son would graduate with, what would your preference be?

Some parents have told me they would like a guarantee of their son graduating as a mathematician, a scientist or a talented musician. Others have told me they wish their son to have business acumen and others hope for the next masterchef champion.

Our hopes and dreams form part of our decision making process when choosing a school for our children, but one thing that most parents overlook when they visualise their son at the end of 13 years of schooling is whether their son has graduated with self confidence.

Having faith in one’s abilities and judgments can transform a student. Being able to face the next phase of life whether that be moving to Senior School, into university studies or the workforce, having a deep self belief is vitally important, particularly for young men. I have seen students working in Graphics, Engineering, Design and Construction who connect with the subject and have their first taste of success. It is when they have these moments that they gain the confidence to make connections with other subjects and this is where the building blocks of success are made. Once a student believes he can do something well the belief that he can have similar success with another subject is easier for him to envisage.

So how do we help students gain confidence in Design, Engineering and Construction? The answer lies in the introduction of age appropriate units of work that are well scaffolded, by challenging students and gradually introducing them to technologies and equipment that build on their successes and growing their skills. At ATC we transition students to the use of industry standard equipment and CAD software that allows them to explore more difficult challenges with a high degree of success.

Year 8 Design Technology students worked with materials including acrylic and pewter this term. The complexity and level of skill involved in modelling their design using Inventor, laser cutting the molds and then casting their design in pewter, challenged most students. The surprising outcome was, despite the frustration and difficulty during the extensive planning, design and making process, the level of satisfaction at the end of the project was empowering and confidence boosting.

Two other examples of students extending their potential were with the flat pack chair, designed and made by engineering students using CADCAM software and equipment, and the wall cabinet made by Construction students using routers and jigs giving them the opportunity to create joints that are perfect and not the old “shove tails” of the past. Our goal is to increase the complexity of units whilst increasing the opportunity for success which allows students to gain all important self-confidence and the appropriate skills needed in industries of the future.

The difference between a student with self confidence and a student without is very noticeable and the impact on their work at school and their attitude to life is obvious. The results of having new found self confidence can be life-changing and when a student gains and then builds on his self-confidence the sky is the limit. When talking about successes and areas for improvement with your son as you look over Report Cards this coming weekend, please consider the impact that self confidence can have on your young man. Prepare him for the future by allowing him to build on his successes and set goals for 2019 so he can continue to make gains and reap the rewards of creating confidence in his abilities.

With realisation of one’s own potential and self-confidence in one’s own ability, one can build a better world.’ Dalai Lama

With best wishes for a safe and happy holiday.

Sean Smith
Head of Design & Industrial Technology