Boarding houses provide an unparalleled education to the students of today. The opportunities available to our students in this day and age are unrivalled, but how do we channel our students’ energy and efforts? How can we teach them to become resilient individuals and learners? How can a boarder build a home away from home?
Resilience is one of the keywords linked with our students nowadays. Their academic studies are demanding, and the pressure upon teachers and students alike is intense. In comparison, the very process of testing oneself and one’s limits through being resilient is missing from many of our young people’s education.
Boarding houses provide the optimum environment to nurture resilience. It is a nurturing, caring environment which encourages discussion, the development of independent, critical thinking, and the structure needed for our youth to become the leaders of tomorrow. Therefore, they are encouraged to adapt and adjust to ensure that their life within our community is fruitful and brings something new every day. To take risks and to seize new opportunities. It is a joy and privilege to see our young people blossom and take shape.
Home away from home
However, it is crucial for a boarder to feel at home away from home. Their second home, much like their first, is a place in which they need to feel safe. A situation in which they can confide in those around them and flourish. As a result, many boarders do things that they cannot do at home. They partake in new activities, meet people from cultures and backgrounds, decorate their room, make part of the community theirs. It is as empowering as it is satisfying to see young people gain confidence in what was once an alien environment.
Indeed, given the ever-changing face of our world, and the globalised environment that we live in, we need resilient learners who are comfortable with who they are. Boarders have undoubtedly the means they need to succeed. Therefore, boarding houses celebrate their newfound resilience and home away from home with them.
Shane Higgins is Director of Boarding at Collège Champittet. From Ireland yet having originally gained his PGCE in Modern Languages (French and Russian) in the UK, he has extensive Boarding experience in both state and private schools in Britain. He is working in his fourth boarding house.
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