Thriving at Barker
Thriving at Barker
The foundation of effective education is wellbeing. At Barker, we aim to create an environment that affords all students experiences of connectedness, a sense of belonging, engagement and positive, respectful relationships based on equity and safety.
As a School we work hard to ensure that we can delight in a positive community where everyone has a place to be and is celebrated for who they are. Students are immersed in holistic learning experiences where wellbeing is carefully considered and integrated into academic learning, outdoor education, service learning, Connect groups, the House system, co-curricular programs, sport, student academic care and support and through Christian faith development.
“Thriving at Barker” stands on four pillars: Inquiry, Rhetoric, Gratitude and Service. The first two pillars refer to our cognitive or intellectual growth. The second two refer to wellbeing and resilience. A human being fully alive will hold their intellectual and spiritual self in a harmonious whole and this harmony will make them strong all their days.
Inquiry is learning to wonder, learning to imagine and to ask questions about the world around us. We want to educate students to wonder about their world rather than simply being passive learners who await curriculum and syllabus designers to tell them what we need to know. So many things are changing rapidly. A 21st Century learner has a vast corpus of information at their fingertips. Good schools will educate students to wonder and inquire so as to be able to access this vast sea of knowledge.
Rhetoric is understood in the way that Greek philosopher Aristotle spoke some 2400 years ago – learning to think, to reason, to persuade. A thriving learner at Barker will know how to think and how to engage in respectful discourse with others at a time when so many things once taken for granted are being called into question.
Gratitude is learning to express thankfulness for the countless blessings that flow from our education, our community and our world. Deep gratitude amplifies the good things in our lives and is one of the best catalysts we know for resilience and for what psychologists call grit. Each of us are a gift to one another and we all need to learn to express gratitude for the ways in which our lives are enriched by the lives of others.
Service is learning to seek the welfare of our community for, as the prophet Jeremiah says “in its prosperity lies your prosperity” (Jer 29:7). A thriving person at Barker will seek to serve others both now and all their days. Gratitude and service will be a habit of mind.
The thriving that is celebrated at Barker is not new. It has been in place for many decades and defines who we are at our School. In future years we intend to build on this, to make it the universal experience of all students and, in the process, further influence the world beyond the Mint Gates. This is our calling and the Great Cause of education in a Christian setting.