Friday, October 07, 2005
The power of excellence
One of the top four netball teams in NZ
Tu Toa School only has 11 students and 9 of them, who play for their netball team, have just reached the top four in the NZ secondary schools netball competition.
Tu Toa School was opened by parents to give the girls an alternative. Although they excelled at their chosen sport that same focus was not always evident in their school work. They now do their academic work through correspondence.
It has helped that one of the parents was the NZ under 21 coach but it does show the power of tapping into students talents to achieve something really exceptional. It reminds me of a quote that I collected some years ago which said that:
‘an experience of excellence comes from mastering something really well. It can be anything- music, mechanics, motorcycle racing. If you don’t go deep into something, you don’t know what extraordinary performance is. You get satisfied with ordinary performance. And if you have never experienced it yourself, it’s hard to be a role model. Without an experience of excellence, you won’t appreciate the quality in others.’
What the girls of Tu Toa School (and their coach) have achieved demonstrates the power of tapping into students talents, of doing something well and building on student’s strengths. If the desire is great enough then there is no problem with effort, application and practice – the virtues that many students fail to show in big secondary schools.
A message here for schools; and for the Ministry who think the answers lies in literacy and numeracy achievement? This is just too simple.
What we need in NZ is a school system dedicated to realizing the talents of all students. But to this we would have to transform our schools.