Just in the month of December (2017), I read an article in the Straits Times (ST) titled, Millennials, Redefined: Meet Generation Grit by ST Journalist, Theresa Tan. In the article, she proved that it was a myth to label Millennials a fragile generation who were unable to go through challenges lest hardships in life. Having spent two years researching and interacting with several millennials who have had to overcome tremendous odds in life, she proved that the human ability to adapt and persevere is present even in the young whom we often associate as living too sheltered lives in Singapore.
While students in secondary schools today are part of the millennial generation (born between the years 1982 to 2000), they are often labelled as soft and fragile too. Known as Generation Z or the Linkster Generation (born 2002~) because they have been "linked into technology from day one". Your children, the Linkster Generation, make up 18 percent of the world's population and were raised in a society where access to social media, the use of smart phones and apps are part of everyday life. Indeed, it is interesting to observe that many of our young today can quite easily use technology without even being properly instructed.
Nurturing our young generation
To this end, schools today have a shared responsibility with parents to nurture our young to become resilient and ready for the future. To be future proof requires a good balance of the classic emphases – head, heart and hands. While we do not wish to obsess over academic results, maintaining academic rigour is important and at Temasek Secondary School (TMS), we are committed to helping your child learn purposefully in the classroom. As the head is still required in generating ideas; sparking innovation; analysing information and communicating thoughts, laying a strong academic foundation remains important to the work we do at TMS. Beyond the foundational, students at TMS also have the opportunity to be stretched through Subject Based Banding (SBB) for our Normal Course students and the Temasek Ignis Programme (TIP) for our Express students*.
Nonetheless, we know that grades alone will not future proof a child. Developing the heart vis-à-vis character growth is indispensable to any education received. To be a part of Generation Grit, as a millennial or Linkster, is of utmost importance in adapting to an uncertain future. Opportunities abound for our students though knowing how to harness them and how to persevere in doing so is an invaluable life skill. At TMS, Student Development includes our ALIVE! Programme, which customises the MOE Character and Citizenship Education (CCE) programme to engage our students on values and moral dilemmas. In addition, TMS offers an established Student Leadership Programme with six domains of leadership to enable our students to lead self and others so that they develop resilience through the experience of working with diversity and in unity to plan and pull together efforts for the school and community. Herein lies the impact of the heart and hands.
More significantly, to future proof a child is to empower him/her with cultural literacy, an important 21st Century competency. At TMS, the Cross-Cultural Awareness (C2A) programme stems from our determination as a school to help our students not just become good citizens and residents of Singapore who value our cultural and religious diversity but also acquire knowledge of other nationalities and cultures so that they will have the sensitivity and appreciation of others different to themselves because our world will always be a melting pot of cultures. Indeed, as Singapore’s Ambassador-at-Large, Professor Tommy Koh shared recently, having cultural intelligence can open doors to many opportunities in the areas of knowledge, business and friendship. TMS is encouraged that we provide our students with a platform to do so.
Believing in our young generation
As educators and parents, we know that no one is able to provide a bullet-proof outcome to life. What is most important is that our students can be that Generation Grit who can adapt to challenges that come their way because they have the knowledge and skills (head), character (heart) and action (hand). This is the TMS journey for our students so that they can become authors of their own meaningful life stories and in doing so, become Singapore’s next generation.
Wishing everyone a purposeful and joyful 2018!
Dayna Chia (Mrs)
Theresa Tan, Millennials, redefined: Meet Generation Grit, Straits Times, 7 December 2017.
Olivia Blair, What comes after Millennials? Meet the Generation Known as the Linksters, 11 April 2017.
Tommy Koh, Reflections of an Octogenarian, Straits Times, 7 November 2017.