Learning at Loreto
At the Heart: a Love of Learning
"Do not confine your children to your own learning for they were born in another time." -Hebrew Proverb
The 'generation gap' gained popularity and prominence during the 1960s and 70s. It was the reason for what were perceived as increasing misunderstandings emerging between young and old. The Hebrew proverb of old suggests that that this was not such a new phenomenon. Perhaps parents and teachers always have and always will grapple with this, 'gap' between generations.
There is, I believe, much to be gained from the wisdom of this proverb. 'Not to confine your children to your own learning' therein lies the key. We cannot help but to pass on the treasures of our own experiences to our young (and must not fail to). But we should not confine them to our learnings.
Our learning; our treasures are merely their stepping stones. This is the inherent belief, which underpins all our curriculum documents and teaching pedagogy. It is based on essential learnings - as opposed to essential knowledge.
The pace of change in the 21st century will be such that the overlap, if any, in experience between teachers' and parents' educational learnings and that of their children will become increasingly smaller over time. For this reason, we must be open to new directions and to the new possibilities so as not to confine our future generations to our own experiences. We have the responsibility to equip them with essential skills for thinking, living, for loving and for being. We should not be preoccupied with specific content or facts but, providing them with the skills to evaluate and analyse such knowledge as is appropriate to their times and to their circumstances. We are preparing them for a future not yet known to us and quite probably one very different from our present.
Our challenge then, as parents and educators, is not to expect that what, and how, we were taught (although we may know it to have worked and been effective for us at least) is right and appropriate for the children of the 21st century. They were 'born in another time.'
Educators and parents have always had to prepare children for a future not yet known to them, but never before has that future had the promise of being so very different from the present.
In many respects we are blessed because our rich Loreto heritage, reflected in our Mission Statement, calls us to 'discern the deeper truths of our lives' and 'to be open and yet discerning of the various movements of our time', referring to all things to God', 'to sift what is truly good from what diminishes'.
For us, as for Mary Ward, the future is unknown. Because of this fundamental uncertainty, we find a gift for our time too in her charism, love of Jesus, freedom, justice, sincerity and joy. This distinctive spirit is our inheritance.