35 Future Forwards: Exploring Frontiers in Education
to try again. The thing is, tricky kids may make more of them and take a
little longer to learn from their errors. When we expect mistakes, it provides
a level of security for kids to take good risks by trying new subjects and
activities without the fear of disappointing anyone if they don’t achieve
immediate mastery and success. Jessica Lahey in her book, How the Best
Parents Learn to Let Go So Their Children Can Succeed sums this up when
she writes about “The gift of failure”:
Every time we rescue, hover, or otherwise save our children from a
challenge, we send a very clear message: that we believe they are
incompetent, incapable, and unworthy of our trust. Further, we teach
them to be dependent on us and thereby deny them the very education
in competence we are put here on this earth to hand down. (Lahey, 2015)
Expect the highest level of integrity, all the time. Like compassion, integrity
is a life skill that will see the tricky student through life’s toughest moments
— much more so than calculus or physics. Expecting this characteristic in
students will help them expect it of themselves.
Success point 2: Get tricky kids in school
The more transient population evident in international schools, combined
with the different socio-economic profile of most international school
students, necessitates a narrower lens on research around school
attendance. However, some clear truths about attendance and learning
•Attendance matters as early as kindergarten and is crucially
important for children who are struggling at school.
• Attendance patterns set in the early years of school tend to remain
through future schooling.
• Chronic absence from school is accepted in most countries as
missing school for more than 10% of the school year. This includes
absences for any reason, including as a result of illness.