The Whole Child

My last post did garner some interesting discussion about attending conferences and the need for people to continue to pursue technology integration.  One of the comments, from Jen Wagner, captured what I was trying to get to in my post.

I have to wonder if perhaps you are confusing the conference location with the conference content???

Yes, SLA is a remarkable place. It is unique and I know that my campus of 1,200 will never even come close. Mostly because we don’t have the leadership that is in place or the teachers in place…….

but I cannot let that continually discourage me. And though it might sound pious, I keep doing my best with what I have to do my best with.

What I am envious with what is going on at SLA this weekend is the conversations, the reinforcement, the ideas, the laughs, and the possibilities.

This type of comment is something that I hear quite a bit as an administrator. You see, I hear this from people who attend phys ed conferences, reading conferences, science conferences, early childhood conferences and are discussing what is happening in education in relation to a particular area and are excited and motivated because of the conversations that they were having. 

You see, as an administrator, my focus is not on any one particular area but on trying to create an atmosphere and school climate that is focused on developing the whole child. This means that, although I believe that technology has a place, I also know that physical fitness is important, social relationships, food and diet, individual self-perception plus a few other things are important for developing a healthy, rounded individual. So, although I know that there were great conversations taking place at Educon, I wonder how many of them dealt with physical fitness, diet and the other parts that go into developing the whole child. 

I ran across an interesting stat the other day which said that, in actual time, students spend 1.5 years in school. That’s it. In total time, 1.5 years. So in that time, we are being asked to do many things at many different levels. Thrown into the mix are the intangibles like learning disabilities, behaviour problems, peer relationship problems, poor home environments and other such things. So, although I agree that we need to make progress in infusing technology with the learning that is taking place, we also have a number of other things that need to be infused into the learning. 

That’s why, in my first post, I said I had this nagging feeling in my stomach. It’s because there is so much more to what we do in schools that must be discussed and infused into what we do and what the school of the “future” will look like. Thus far, in most areas, we have an “add on” approach. Instead of taking a look at how any one of these areas can be infused/integrated, we “add on” to the existing programs. At this point, teachers have so many things for which they are responsible it is hard to think of adding on one more. Yet that is exactly what we want to do. Add more. 

Now, there are examples of teachers who have been able to integrate/infuse much of what has been added to their teaching including technology. Some, however, don’t have that ability but have been able to wonders in other areas like reading or personal/social development or physical fitness. To add to this, many areas of our social society see school as the place where they have access to children and want to add even more. Just the other day I was listening to a program that wanted more emphasis put on a particular social area in school because that is where there is access to the young. 

So you see, I have these conversations all the time but they don’t just focus on technology. Although I am an advocate of technology, that is not my mandate as it is with many of those who attended the Educon conference and who commented on my post. I didn’t have time to take part in the ustream because I was with my own children attending a hockey tournament. I do plan on stopping by some of them later to see what went on. Later this year I will present at two conferences where my focus will be on on technology use for educators. I even have all the K – 12 online conference presentations on my itouch. You see, this isn’t about the technology but about what it takes to develop a whole child, one that isn’t just going to be a worker in the future who needs specific job skills but a person who has so much more. Is there something missing from the conversation? I don’t know but I do know that when I discuss what we need to have for education for our students, it’s much more than technology.


  1. Reply

    Hi Kelly

    Well said. I think your point is somewhere the sum of the parts need to contribute to the nurturing of a whole child. I could never do your job. The sum of the parts is what it is you do. I have the luxury of being with my grade five and six class not being in charge. I can help create some of the parts and do what I can to contribute to the whole. Good luck. Good administrators are more artists than anything.

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