Educators, leaders, philosophers, thinkers and parents have long debated what constitutes an excellent education. The answer of course, is that the definition of an excellent education will be different for everyone. Thus it is of vital importance to parents who want their children to have an excellent education that they invest some time in creating their own definition. This definition can then be used as a guide when searching for the right school or in creating a home education program. In is not enough for parents to trust that because their child is enrolled in an alternative school, an expensive private school or a religious school that they are therefore gaining an excellent education. Nearly all schools will declare that they provide superb education, but how are parents really to know unless they are aware of what they consider important?
Parents who have thought about what an excellent education means to them can use their definition as a checklist when assessing whether a school meets their criteria. This document provides some examples of how other schools, educators and educational organisations have defined what an excellent education means to them.
The International Baccalaureate aims to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect. These programmes encourage students across the world to become active, compassionate and lifelong learners who understand that other people, with their differences, can also be right. IB learners strive to be:
They develop their natural curiosity. They acquire the skills necessary to conduct inquiry and research and show independence in learning. They actively enjoy learning and this love of learning will be sustained throughout their lives. Knowledgeable: They explore concepts, ideas and issues that have local and global significance. In so doing, they acquire in-depth knowledge and develop understanding across a broad and balanced range of disciplines.
They exercise initiative in applying thinking skills critically and creatively to recognise and approach complex problems, and make reasoned, ethical decisions.
They understand and express ideas and information confidently and creatively in more than one language and in a variety of modes of communication. They work effectively and willingly in collaboration with others.
They act with integrity and honesty, with a strong sense of fairness, justice and respect for the dignity of the individual, groups and communities. They take responsibility for their own actions and the consequences that accompany them.
They understand and appreciate their own cultures and personal histories, and are open to the perspectives, values and traditions of other individuals and communities. They are accustomed to seeking and evaluating a range of points of view, and are willing to grow from the experience.
They show empathy, compassion and respect towards the needs and feelings of others. They have a personal commitment to service, and act to make a positive difference to the lives of others and to the environment.
They approach unfamiliar situations and uncertainty with courage and forethought, and have the independence of spirit to explore new roles, ideas and strategies. They are brave and articulate in defending their beliefs.
These children understand the importance of intellectual, physical and emotional balance to achieve personal well-being for themselves and others.
They give thoughtful consideration to their own learning and experience. They are able to assess and understand their strengths and limitations in order to support their learning and personal development.