Continuing To Try to Do Good Work (And An Opportunity for You) by Ben Snyder, Head of Upper School
Nobles teachers care about developing both the intellect and the character of our students. Our mission refers to our goal of "developing leaders for the public good" and our hope that Nobles students will "achieve their highest potential and lead lives characterized by service to others." These are daunting tasks—to say the least.
In the daily hustle and bustle of school life those lofty goals can seem a long way away. Homework, tests, practices, rehearsals, service projects, friends and family often overwhelm our grand goals—and it is important at times to step back and reflect on the larger purpose and values we hope to nurture in young people.
Periodically over the last seven years Nobles has collaborated with the GoodWork Project at Project Zero (http://www.pz.harvard.edu/index.php) at the Harvard Graduate School of Education to examine the efficacy of our work in building character as well as intellect and to learn about current practices and research that we may embed in the Nobles program. It also helps us to examine our own school culture carefully and intentionally.
On Fri., March 8, Nobles is collaborating with Project Zero to host a conference for educators from around the country called “Developing Responsible, Caring & Balanced Youth.” The conference will feature internationally notable educators and social entrepreneurs including Howard Gardner, William Damon, and Kiran Sethi of Design for Change.
Our goals for the conference will be to address important questions such as these: “How do we raise balanced, responsible, and caring youth in this opportunity-rich, yet challenging context? How are young people responding to the changing world in school, at home, and in social environments? Are youth more socially aware and less prejudiced than ever before, or are they more narcissistic, egocentric and self-serving? How do we equip young people to recognize and confront ethical dilemmas and to respond with integrity? How do we help them develop a sense of purpose for themselves, yet also care about the wider world?”
The world our young people encounter is dramatically different than ours was at their age. Social media, access to infinite information via the internet, a hyper-competitive race towards college, and many other pressures have put adolescents in decision-making situations in which, frankly, they may not be developmentally ready to make good choices. We hope this collaborative effort helps adults understand those pressures more sensitively and develop ways—both in and out of the classroom—to help kids negotiate the minefield of adolescence to emerge as young adults who hope to lead lives characterized by integrity and character so that they will make a positive difference in their communities.
Interested parents are welcome to register for the conference—http://casieonline.org/events/pz/gw—(for either a day or for the full conference) and to share this opportunity with friends, colleagues and family.