Expat Education: New report says children must learn to learn

Making the decision to up sticks and start a new life as a British expatriate in a foreign land is always a tough one. You’ll have to find a place that you deem acceptable for you and your partner. However, if you have children the stress can be tenfold.

expat schooling report

Moving your children along with you will provide you with a bigger set of headaches than if you were travelling alone. Of course you will worry mostly about how they will adapt, if they will take to their new homes and also if they will be in the right hands education wise. Well that’s where the good news comes in. Many experts suggest that children who receive international schooling go on to have very successful and prosperous lives, more so than their native schooled peers. Whilst it will be natural for you to worry as a parent (it’s your job!) you should take solace in the ideas that children who journey with expatriate families tend to have an improved scope of the world and indeed they often mature at a faster rate than they may have back home.

Writing in the Telegraph, two seasoned educators, Kevin Bartlett and Gordon Eldridge at the International School of Brussels, have come out and laid forth some guidelines imperative to a child’s education in a foreign land. The main crux of this message is that children have to learn how to learn. In today’s modern job market new roles based on new technologies are created every day, the ability to learn new things while moving forward in life is the most important aspect of a curriculum. The article by Bartlett and Eldridge says: “Research would suggest that many students focus on completing the tasks they are assigned without considering what it is they are meant to learn. The same research suggests that those students who look beyond the task to what can be learnt from it are more readily able to transfer their learning to unfamiliar situations.”

Mr Bartlett and Mr Eldridge, school director and curriculum director respectively, say that schools will have to show why each individual lesson is relevant to the child’s education and ultimately their life. A further snippet from the report claims: “We broke out this Learning Purpose into four natural indicators: understanding the learning purpose in each task; understanding the performance expectations; working with exemplars of “what good looks like”; and making effective use of communicative feedback. These are the transferable skills that students need to take with them. They need to be able to recognise the underlying purposes of a task and what they can learn from it, they need to be able to recognise what that task looks like when it is done well, and they need to be able to make use of feedback generated by both themselves and others to move their own performance a step closer to excellence.”

Such sensibilities can even be applied to your own business life, and by ensuring that your children come away from school with a firm grasp on “how to learn” then this well certainly serve them well in their later lives. More information can be found in our article on moving your family abroad.