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Mougins School

The Learning Curve

Pastoral article
  • Secondary Matters
Robert Cooke

The month of January is traditionally a time when as adults we think of change, a new departure or a new year resolution. For myself the enthusiasm of personal self betterment lasts the month of January and that new diet or sport initiative is left behind. 

This week in Positive Education we spoke to the students about change and community and our Head of Secondary spoke of the BBC news presenter George Alagiah and his reflections on community. George was an inspirational writer who brought change to how we looked at Africa and the poverty and the humility and dignity of people suffering famine. His autobiographical book A passage to Africa was his reflections as news correspondent criss-crossing Africa between 1992-93. He himself has had to change his own life fighting cancer and is an inspiration to all of us.

It takes a lot of courage to change, to better oneself and this is the topic we would like our students to reflect on as they begin this new year. We want our students to change and develop the mindset that will help them improve their chances in an evolving and developing World.

The Persian Poet, Rumi once spoke of the real change begins from within. He wrote:

“ Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the World. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.”

It is essentially these ideas that we want to promote to our students and help them take the right educational pathways and develop the right routines that will help them change for the better. I spoke to my tutor class about change being slow and it is from the most humble beginnings that real change can be sustainable. 

When talking to the students about change I spoke about their motivations for change and highlighted some of the main reasons why people change?

To become more informed or intelligent.
To help make the World a better place, to help others.
To improve their opportunities in life, both professionally and personally.
To help their passion in music, sport etc.
To be taken seriously in life.
To help other people by sharing skills.
To deal in possibilities and not limitations.
To make every moment in life count.
To follow through and be proud of yourself.

Change is no easy path for anyone, transformation is difficult and takes dedication and determination. But their are amazing stories to help inspire our students, like Ronald Reagan who changed from being an actor to become the 40th president of the United States of America or Arnold Schwarzenegger who made two major career changes, first when he transitioned from world champion bodybuilder in his 20s to award-winning actor in his 30s, then when he became the Governor of California in 2003 at 56. But the story that stands out for me is the writer Aron Ralston who wrote the autobiographical book Between a rock and a hard place after having to cut his right hand off while stuck canyoning in Blue John Canyon in Utah. He became a father and an inspirational speaker for students who want to meet their full potential. His message was simple: Be the best you can of yourself. So here’s to being the best we can.


Mr Robert Cooke
Head of Pastoral Care and Safeguarding

  • Pastoral Care
  • Secondary