Why do we exist?
“It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge.”
Rationale for creating a new school
Kairos School of Inquiry recognises the tensions of the existing mass school system. We seek solutions to meet the societal pressures experienced in schools. While we fulfill the normal educational expectations − our children remain able and ready to enter and excel at any high school − we remain passionately ambitious about all our educational objectives.
The industrialization of society encouraged the conceptualization of schools as factories. Way back in 1969, and still true today, Neil Postman and Charles Weingartner observed that schools tend to teach the following messages to children more deeply than any of their school subjects:
- Passive acceptance is a more desirable response to ideas than active criticism.
- Discovering knowledge is beyond the power of students and is, in any case, none of their business.
- Recall is the highest form of intellectual achievement, and the collection of unrelated “facts” is the goal of education.
- The voice of authority is to be trusted and valued more than independent judgment.
- One’s own ideas and those of one’s classmates are inconsequential. Feelings are irrelevant in education. There is always a single, unambiguous Right Answer to a question.
The Kairos Model
While ensuring children’s abilities in literacy and numeracy and other educational norms remain on par, we challenge our students in other areas of skills vital for a healthy 21st century society:
- Critical and self-reflective thinking is more desirable than passive acceptance of ideas.
- Discovering knowledge is within the power of students and, moreover, is a vital part of any learning process.
- Children need to progress through successive levels of thinking skills, reaching towards higher-order reasoning and emotional maturity.
- Responding to ideas is the highest form of intellectual achievement, and the collection of unrelated facts is the goal of education.
- Independent judgment and the willingness to stand alone are necessary for responding appropriately to authority.
- One’s own ideas and feelings and those of one’s classmates and teachers are all significant. Most questions are ambiguous or complex, and there are usually many right answers to any question.
Kairos’s educational objectives include the development of the following in our children and teachers:
- compassion and sense of accountability, towards achieving personal integrity
- creative initiative and diligence in search of mastery in a variety of literacies.
- emotional intelligence and non-violent communication in service of social harmony.