How do we measure success?
A quick internet search reveals a wide range of answers, all contextual. If it's a company maybe it's profitability or customer satisfaction. Sometimes success is ranked by a measure of improvement.
I think I could ask a hundred people and have a hundred answers. This is probably a reflection of our Frame of reference (FoR). I use this term a lot in my PSHEe teaching - it is the way in which we perceive the world, dependent on our upbringing, our experiences and our lifestyles. Talking about FoR is helpful when encouraging people to consider what it's like being 'in someone else's shoes'.
Therefore, if our FoR helps us define success, then of course our definitions will differ. Many will define success similarly because our FoR is similar, but for others it will be widely different. If money is central to you, then money will be a way of measuring success. If happiness featured prominently in your childhood, then chances are it will in your success measures. And if just surviving, getting through one day at a time, has been a feature of your adult life, then success will be measured very differently.
Exams seem to present us with a simple way of measuring academic success. Get this mark and you are this successful. A more nuanced way may be to look for how much scores have improved or how close they are to the marks required to pass Common Entrance. Some may even say that success is, 'What have you learnt from the exams?' or 'We can see what you know - now do even better by filling the gaps of what you don't know!' Take your pick.
I've had my own experience of seeing success at Pilgrims' this week. I have seen a boy, a lovely and brilliant child, overcome his fear of failure and nerves about 'Am I good enough?'. That's not to say it hasn't been hard for him, or that he aced the exams. Far from it. But to be able to do his best, overcome his emotions and show what he CAN do, that, for me, is a major success. Something real that he can build on.
Too often we focus on what we are not or what we can't do, when really we should be showing what we are and what we can do. Let's celebrate our success. Then we will be better able to take on the challenge of how to be even better.
I encourage our boys, staff and parents to consider their own Frame of Reference and how it informs how they measure success. Success, in a learning context, should be about positivity, celebration and signposts for even better things.
Te aroha me to hari - peace, love and happiness
Director of Wellbeing