Claire Bale, Director of Marketing, explains why effective communication is one of the most important things a child can learn.
I’ve enjoyed every minute of my career in marketing, and it goes without saying that good communication has been a fundamental part of it all the way through. Since working in education, I’ve come to realise just what an important life skill it is for everyone, and how crucial it is to be able to communicate competently and confidently for so many reasons – for academic success, realising your career potential, and living the way you want to in life.
Observing the way the girls at NGHS learn and develop fills me with excitement for what they’ll go on to do, just as so many of our inspirational alumnae have for generations. It’s not just what young people are taught that matters, it’s how they’re taught, and the habits they form at a young age, that set the wheels in motion for their future success.
Drama – all the way from Reception to Year 13, girls explore the creativity and confidence that comes with Drama. To stand on the stage in The Space, and speak/sing/play an instrument in front of 250 people is a powerful skill for them to possess by the time they’re young women. Whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert, to be able to stand up and be seen is a quality that all successful individuals possess.
Collaboration – research demonstrates that girls learn most effectively when they collaborate, discuss, and explore a subject deeply. This is why group work is one of the pillars of our learning technique. Not only does it help girls learn, enjoy and remember, it teaches them to share their opinions, listen to others, support or debate others’ ideas and to lead every day; all exceptional skills to display in the work place and beyond.
Debating – any learning environment should have a debating club, it’s a true life skill. Anyone who is able to develop their own argument, present ideas, communicate powerfully and persuasively will inspire and impress others and will excel in whatever they choose to do. Our Year 6 girls in Debating Club certainly know how to hold a group’s attention and how to tackle a thorny issue in a confident manner. I can imagine most of them would already hold their own in most boardrooms!
No limitations – unfortunately there are many prejudices and misconceptions in the world that can hold a person back, especially a young person starting out in life. Stereotypes, prejudices, assumptions and self-beliefs can be, and are, obstacles to success and happiness. Stereotypes do not exist at NGHS. Our girls do not learn in an environment in which speaking up is often seen as a male quality, or where a leadership position is often only taken up by certain types of people. It’s wonderful to see all of our girls actively engaging in debates and discussions all the time, girls of all personality types, who all have an inner confidence and passion for the world. Questions are never stupid. Opinions are always valid. Debate is always welcome. Children and young people who have these beliefs take them forward into their careers and their lives, meaning they continue to learn, develop, grow and to succeed.
Leadership – anyone with passion, determination, resilience and fearlessness can and will be a great leader, and these qualities develop all the way through a child’s time at school. With opportunity, support and inspiring role models, our girls know how to lead. It’s something they’ve always done, so they will continue to do.
Life can go in many different directions, and for young people now, there are even more opportunities appearing, with careers we haven’t even imagined yet sure to come onto the horizon in the future. There are some things you can almost guarantee though – a successful person, however they define their own success, will communicate effectively, they will have to persuade others, they will need to hold their own against challenges, and they will be required to be fearless in what they believe in. Whether it’s going for an Oxbridge interview, an assessment centre for a graduate scheme, delivering a presentation at a job interview or securing budget for a new venture, communicating well is a key part of achieving what anyone sets out to do.
If I were to summarise the most important message for young people about how to communicate, it would be this –
Be yourself – be the most fearless version of yourself – your voice is unique and it should, and will, be heard.