The OTHER Balance of Power, Australian Youth!

I love hearing of ‘firsts’, especially from our young people. Lately we have heard a few! Jessica Watson and Wyatt Roy are the latest to hit our screens and it is exciting to truly celebrate their accomplishments. Over the last decade, youth success has been hijacked by (what I call) ”celebritism”; making celebrity out of random opportunity rather than accomplishment. 

I hate to think that there had been a void of prior talent but I was constantly frustrated at the examples presented to our kids as ‘successful’ by popular culture. “Big Brother” contestants who extend their 15 minutes of fame to years of fruitless folly or the Paris Hilton set who inherited their fame and generated on-going publicity by seeing how low they could set the bar.

As teachers, we often hear from students who are seeking to achieve at the “lowest possible PASS point”. When teaching a class I recoil when I hear students ask “Have I written enough?”, “Do we have to read the book, can’t we just watch the movie?” or “What do we have to do this for?”  But, I take motivation seriously. I want my students to WANT to read, to WANT to do THEIR work, to aim BEYOND a mere PASS.

Of course, my lessons have to be engaging and captivating and motivating – which of course THEY ALWAYS ARE! But I also want to tap into this newer, richer, current (perhaps temporary?) fame that young Australians are generating.

We need to talk up THIS kind of success as a PRODUCT of big thinking and big dreams BUT ALSO of Big cost, Big risk, Big discipline, Big routines, Big skills, Big help and Big perseverance!

I want Wyatt and Jessica to ”speak” to my class so that my classes PRODUCE Wyatts and Jessicas.


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