It’s getting a little old now but has there ever been a better film on education than Dead Poets’ Society. Who could forget that memorable scene where Mr Keating, played by Robyn Williams, says to his poetry class “I want you to rip out that page.” The offending piece is a dry, technical introduction to understanding poetry. Central to the film is the conflict between the educational perspectives of Keating and the prevailing establishment. Apart from being a great film this highlights the importance of establishing a world-view in determining the pattern of education.
Although the idea of a values neutral education might sound appealing to some, it is in fact, an impossibility. An educational institution that states that ‘God is irrelevant’ is not ‘neutral’. ‘No place for God’ is as much a faith position as ‘every place for God’ … and the implications are substantial.
Education that does not help a student to explore the wider meaning of life is empty. Science alone might tell us that humankind came from an accident (and will probably end in an accident) but is the accidental life worth living?
At Trinity Grammar School Sydney our educational principles are underpinned by a thoroughly Christian foundation. We are conscious that education does not take place in a vacuum. Rather, it incorporates a number of presuppositions and provides a lens through which the whole world can be viewed.
This might influence areas as diverse as the manner in which sport is played, concern for the powerless, the way to approach a Beckett play, matters of economic justice as well as matters of intellectual integrity and humility. In short, it is the understanding that we are all part of a bigger story.
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