How Do You Measure Success?

By Jason Cooper, Primary Principal, Bangkok Patana School

As we begin another school year, I’d like you to think about your definition of success. What is it that you will discuss with your child/children in June 2019 when you reflect on the academic year? Often, we apply a narrow focus to what success means, which can blind us to opportunities to celebrate success with our children.

Success can be different things to different people; there is no “one size fits all” measure of success. Some people will measure their child’s success in terms of academic attainment, while others will use academic progress. Some will talk about success on the sporting field, or the passing of music exams, while others will use social engagement and friendships as an indicator of success. All of these are valid measures of success and one is not more important than the other.

In our ever-changing world where change is the only constant, we can’t apply the indicators of success from last decade to this decade, and certainly not to the next decade. As we approached 2015, the following skills were considered the most desirable for people entering the workforce, in order from 1-10:

1. Complex Problem Solving
2. Coordinating with Others
3. People Management
4. Critical Thinking
5. Negotiation
6. Quality Control
7. Service Orientation
8. Judgment and Decision Making
9. Active Listening
10. Creativity

As we approach 2020, the list has been revised:
1. Complex Problem Solving
2. Critical Thinking
3. Creativity
4. People Management
5. Coordinating with Others
6. Emotional Intelligence
7. Judgment and Decision Making
8. Service Orientation
9. Negotiation
10. Cognitive Flexibility

It is very interesting to see that Critical Thinking has gone from number 4 to number 2, and Creativity from number 10 to number 3! Attributes on the initial list such as Quality Control and Active Listening have been replaced with Emotional Intelligence and Cognitive Flexibility. What’s really interesting is that the top five on the 2020 list are all related to working with people to creatively solve problems. The progressive approach to learning in the Primary School at Bangkok Patana utilizes the best elements of the British curriculum to ensure that the students have many and varied opportunities to think creatively and critically to solve complex problems while learning together with diverse groups of peers. These vitally important skills align seamlessly with the school’s
Guiding Statements and Values:

Complex Problem Solving: We are motivated and engaged, Inquisitive and creative, inspired to improve our global sustainability.
Critical Thinking: We are critical, reflective thinkers.
Creativity: We are balanced and fulfilled, inquisitive and creative, respectful contributors to digital and local communities.
People Management: We are kind and compassionate, collaborative and confident communicators, ethical and informed.
Coordinating with Others: We are responsible and honest, passionate resourceful and resilient, diverse and inclusive.

In schools, it is important to not only focus on building strong foundations of knowledge and understanding but to also provide opportunities for students to apply these in ways that develop the personal attributes and skills outlined above. By focusing on the development of knowledge, skills, understanding, and personal attributes, we are ensuring success for our students today, while also ensuring that they are ready for the world of tomorrow.

Source: Future of Jobs Report, World Economic Forum 2016