The Power of Belief
This essay has been written to honour Professor Phillip Hughes, an extraordinary Australian and one of the most outstanding educational thinkers this country has produced. Through his unswerving belief in the capacity of education not only to transform individual lives, but also to create a more just and harmonious society, Phil has challenged all of us to set and pursue higher expectations. These include higher expectations of the school curriculum to develop capacities for reflection, curiosity and creative thinking as well as personal values; higher expectations for the equitable distribution of educational opportunities; and higher expectations of education’s contribution to ameliorating global tensions and challenges. One of Phil’s early teachers, Alison Smith, encouraged him to set high expectations by asking, ‘Is it your best?’ Throughout his career Phil has set exceptionally high expectations of himself while promoting self-belief in others. In his own words, ‘for all of us as teachers, the final victory is to retain our faith in people, in their capacity to grow’ Maclean (Learning and teaching for the twenty-first century: Festschrift for Professor Phillip Hughes, Springer, Bonn, 2007).
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