The importance of a humanised curriculum

2021 Captain of School, William Flintoft, highlights the need for teaching and learning to be underpinned by social and moral imperatives.

An increasing concern of educators the world over is the “commoditisation of the curriculum”: the notion that schools’ sole purposes are to act as “VCE factories”, churning out students with the necessary metaphorical ticket to get into university.

The tendency of places of education to tie their identities to results rather than process is a concerning one, and while Melbourne Grammar is proud of a long and ongoing tradition of academic excellence, that pride should not be mistaken for sole objective.

Our success as a school is grounded in a recognition that for many, school becomes more than a location or an institution. Rather, living that education from day to day – as opposed to simply participating in a transient rung on the career ladder – is what defines the way we engage with school. That realisation that Melbourne Grammar is the conduit through which we first engage in higher-level critical thinking, hone our physical and mental prowess, and think philosophically about our place in the world means that the primacy of personhood, belief and humanity must define any approach to teaching and learning.

Our engagement with a smorgasbord of co-curricular activities, and having the spark of interest lit in us through the Socratic method of teaching means that school becomes a living, dynamic system of experience, not simply the “filling” of our educational “buckets”.

I see that idea of a “living” school in students’ success in subjects they love, on the athletics field, the stage, and the easel: not points on a resume, or micro credentials to be accumulated, but actualisations of a passion forming part of the human experience.

Our strength as an institution, in my opinion, is found in the recognition that there must be a social, moral imperative at the core of our philosophy, rather than simply a toolkit for outfitting students with the latest in resume additions and a ticket to university. That imperative comes in recognising each person’s capacity for rational thought, and for beholding innate, personal truths; we are not given some prescribed set of tenets around which we must contort ourselves, but rather our existing systems of beliefs is clothed with articulation and experience; a refining of principles that emerges only after we engage fully in a life-encompassing education.

What continues to be of import, then, is that school is not seen as merely a stepping stone to something else. Thankfully, Melbourne Grammar’s emphasis on living and not just attending school means that students are immersed in a system of experience that makes education more than a ticket. It is a means by which we can engage meaningfully with the world, becoming young people to whom school is not a gap of time between birth and employment, but a lived experience in and of itself.

About William Flintoft

William Flintoft is one of our most accomplished scholars. He has received many awards in recognition of his outstanding academic achievement. In 2020, as a Year 11 student, he attained perfect study scores of 50 for two VCE Unit 3 & 4 subjects - Mathematical Methods and Physics.

An outstanding public speaker, William was a member of the School’s State Championship Debating team in 2019 and 2020 and, in 2018, the Junior Sir Kingsley Norris Orator. He was a member of the national championship team at the Australian Computational Linguistics Olympiad in 2021.

William also pursues interests in the performing arts, playing the French horn and singing in the Chapel Choir. He was also one of the leading actors in the 2021 Quad Play. You can read about the Play here, and view a snapshot of William's performance here.

William has demonstrated dedication to service throughout his time at the School including chairing the G30 student committee in 2019.

William began studying at Melbourne Grammar School in Prep.