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Education: The seven steps

There are the Seven Wonders of the World, of course, but it looks like we need to have seven Seven Wonders of the World

We seem to have this thing about the number seven! It appears to be almost the magic number. There are the Seven Wonders of the World, of course, but it looks like we need to have seven Seven Wonders of the World, as in addition to the Seven Wonders of the World, we have the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the Seven Wonders of the Natural World (with our own Victoria Falls featuring strongly), and not to be outdone we have come up with the New Seven Wonders of the World as well as the New Seven Wonders of Nature — come on, surely, we can make seven wonders somehow! Then there are the Seven Summits to conquer, the Seven Continents (increased from five!), the Seven Planets (now increased to eight but do not tell anyone!). Where shall we stop?

In the cultural world we speak of the Seven Deadly Sins, the Seven Pillars of Wisdom, and at a less serious level we have the Magnificent Seven, the Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, the Seven Dwarves, the Seven Sisters and no doubt many more. In literature, we have a collection of self-help books on leadership: The Seven Games of Leadership (Paula Gallo), The Seven Disciplines of a Leader (Jeff Wolf), The Seven Perspectives of Effective Leaders (Daniel Harkavy), the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People (Stephen Covey) — and of course, we could throw in the multiples of seven with the Twenty-One Irrefutable Laws of Leadership (John Maxwell). In case this writer needs some help (do not answer that!), help is available with the Seven Steps to Writing Skills, along with Seven Steps to Extraordinary Life, to Effective Decision-Making, to Effective Lessons.

We all want to develop ourselves; we all want to stay young and fit. One young lady has an evening ritual of Seven Steps to remain fresh, young and beautiful – the seven steps however are kept secret but they are clearly effective, extraordinary and irrefutable (in borrowing words from the afore-mentioned authors). Those seven steps work incredibly, undeniably, unbelievably (borrowing words from another song) as she looks twenty years younger than she is – and no surgery!

When it comes to education, we now have the 7 Cs of learning where the original five of collaboration, communication, creativity, critical thinking and character have had citizenship and computational thinking added for good measure.  Paediatrician Dr. Kenneth Ginsburg has also come up with the 7 Cs of resilience for children facing hardships, being competence, confidence, connection, character, Ccontribution, coping and control. More significantly, William Glasser has come up with seven steps in terms of how much we remember: “10% of what we read; 20% of what we hear; 30% of what we see; 50% of what we see and hear; 70% of what we discuss; 80% of what we experience and 95% of what we teach”. Teachers should certainly grasp those seven steps.

We might also have come across the powerful mindset ladder of seven (yes, seven — of course) steps for success which starts with the person saying “I won’t do it” before climbing further steps of saying “I can’t do it; I want to do it; How do I do it; I’ll try to do it; I can do it; I will do it.” This is really at the heart of what education must be about; it is this ladder of steps that will determine how far the child will go. Their attitude, their expectations, their perception, their drive are what we must develop and nurture, so that they can climb high.

Brian McKnight, an American singer, songwriter and actor, sees that there are various steps when it comes to relationships in his song ‘Back at One’: “One, you’re like a dream come true. Two, just wanna be with you. Three, girl, It’s plain to see that you’re the only one for me, and Four, repeat steps one through three; Five, make you fall in love with me. If ever I believe my work is done, then I’ll start back at one”. That may well be the case, that often we have to repeat various steps to go forward, while the words in the song about the lady ring ever true.

Modern society, in our drive for a healthy lifestyle speak of us taking not seven but ten thousand steps a day, which to many people seems impossible or at least unbearable. Yet as the old Chinese proverb has it, “a journey of a thousand kilometres starts with the first step”. And that is the greatest lesson our children can have — make the first step. And it need not end at seven steps, nor even seventy times seven (as Christ reminded his followers). One step is a step to greater wonders.

Tim Middleton is the executive director of the Association of Trust Schools [ATS]. The views expressed in this article, however, are solely those of the author in his private capacity and do not necessarily represent the views of the ATS.

Email: tim@atszim.org website:  atszim.org

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