Thursday 17 February 2022: Our annual Prize Giving is held to recognise academic excellence from Grade 8 to 12 and is held after the release of the final National Senior Certificate results of the preceding year. We congratulate and celebrate our 2021 achievers.
Please use the official online programme for the full list of prize winners, and the tabs below for extracts of the evening.
Good evening, members of the academic staff, members of the School Governing Body, parents of our students, guests, and visitors, and the most important members of tonight’s function, our boys, the prize winners of the past year.
Welcome to the 2022 prize giving ceremony, a highlight on the annual school calendar.
Recent studies by leading psychologists have identified four types of intelligence:
- Intelligence quotient (IQ)
- Emotional quotient (EQ)
- Social quotient (SQ)
- And, adversity quotient (AQ)
Intelligence quotient (IQ) refers to the measure of your level of comprehension. One needs IQ to solve mathematical problems, to memorise facts, recall lessons and comprehend certain concepts.
It is an honour to welcome our top achievers in the 2021 National Senior Certificate examinations here tonight. They all demonstrated high levels of IQ, hence their brilliant results. [Please consult the headmaster’s report in the programme for a more comprehensive analysis of the 2021 results. – ED]
Frank McCourt wrote in his book Teacher Man that schools should work extremely hard to help young people realise their potential – whatever that may be. Schools should, therefore, be a liberating rather than a narrowing place where curiosity is encouraged and fostered, and IQ developed.
John Dewey, the great American philosopher, stated that education is not preparation for life, education is life itself. It is, therefore, imperative that schools should focus on developing the necessary skills to prepare learners adequately for an ever-changing 21st century. These skills include:
- Firstly, critical thinking which includes analysis, interpretation, precision and accuracy, problem-solving and reasoning.
- Secondly, creativity and imagination as the source of every form of human achievement.
- Thirdly, information and media literacy.
- Fourthly, collaboration.
- And, fifthly, communication skills whereby students must be able to communicate not just with text or speech, but visually through video and imagery in multiple multimedia formats.
Developing the IQ of our learners in schools should, therefore, prepare them to cope with the demands of the 21st century.
Emotional quotient (EQ) refers to the measure of one’s ability to maintain peace with others, keep to time, be responsible, be honest, respect boundaries, be humble, genuine, and considerate. Your EQ, therefore, represents your character.
Gary Kirsten, former Protea batsman and former coach of the World Cup-winning Indian cricket side, emphasises the importance of coaches learning more about coaching and leadership. He is of the opinion that the holistic development of every player is at stake and that coaches first have to become better versions of themselves before they can have a meaningful and significant influence on players.
They must, therefore, display high levels of EQ.
Bill O’Brien, former coach of the Houston Texans in the American NFL, supports this view and states that the quality of any intervention is directly related to the interior condition of the intervenor. We, therefore, continually need to ask the question of what our intentions and motivations are when working with young people.
We must be very careful not to transfer our own frustrations and emotions in our dealings with young people. Good coaches, and educators, therefore, need a high EQ in these interactions.
The most vital role of any educator or coach is to assist a learner in their development and continued progress. This is certainly not possible if the actual priority of an educator or coach is to win at all costs, and often for their own benefit so that they can be recognised as a successful or high performing coach.
Striving to maintain a balance is very important: there is nothing wrong with striving to win, but a young person must be taught the value of competition. We must be very careful that we do not seek to win at the risk and detriment of what we stand for as people or an institution. For many, winning at all costs has become a way to define who they are and their own worth.
Winning and losing should never be seen as a metric for determining success but both have a crucial role to play in the development of young people as they journey through life with all of its trials and tribulations. A school environment should be designed to test the value system of all the custodians who participate, be they students, educators, or parents. Everyone’s behaviour is under scrutiny and as custodians, our responsibility is to always behave responsibly and appropriately.
Developing the EQ of all the custodians should become an integral part and mission of our schools. This is something that we strive for with our mentorship programme here at Wynberg.
Social quotient (SQ) refers to the measure of one’s ability to build a network of friends and maintain it over a long period of time. Your SQ, therefore, represents your charisma.
I would like to share the well-known dynamics of geese flying in formation, and the benefits that this bring, to demonstrate the value of having a high SQ:
If asked why geese fly in formation, most people would probably respond that it is done in order to conserve energy or to enhance performance. Both are correct based on the v-formation of their flight pattern.
As a bird flaps its wings, the air at the tip of the wing spins off resulting in an upwash and a downwash. The air immediately behind the lead bird is constantly pushed downwards resulting in the downwash. The air further back and to the sides gets pushed upwards resulting in the upwash.
A second bird in the right position, without having to flap its wings as powerfully, benefits from an increase in lift from the upwash. Studies have shown that there can be energy conservation of as much as 40%.
People like to use the v-formation of geese to illustrate the benefits of teamwork. Rob Opie, a well-known brand strategist, and performance coach is of the opinion that the benefits of teamwork create enhanced efficiencies and performance. The benefits are, however, absolutely dependent on formation, collaboration, alignment, and unity among the participants.
However, when a team fails to come together effectively, this v-formation effect does not exist and the very opposite of the benefits occurs: instead, the energy loss in the team, and for individuals, can be of the same magnitude as the potential benefits – again a staggering 40%. Mental and physical exhaustion come into effect, and hope and confidence diminish.
The value of investing in, and developing, the SQ of people is, therefore, plain to see.
People that have higher eq and sq tend to go further in life than those with a high IQ but low EQ and SQ. Most schools focus on improving IQ levels while EQ and SQ are played down.
A person of high IQ can end up being employed by an employer of an average IQ although the employer might have a high EQ and a high SQ.
Schools have a responsibility to develop habits that will improve your intelligence quotient, emotional quotient as well as social quotient.
However, studies have found that not many schools focus on developing a student’s adversity quotient (or AQ). The adversity quotient refers to the measure of a person’s ability to go through a difficult period in their life, and to come out of it without losing hope.
When faced with troubles, a person’s adversity quotient determines who will give up, who will abandon their family, and even who will consider suicide.
Victor Frankl, who survived three years in Nazi concentration camps, including Auschwitz, where he lost his father, mother, brother, and wife, describes in his book The Meaning of Life how many inmates quickly lost the will to live. Of particular interest to Frankl were the inmates who lived lives with dignity despite the conditions, and who survived.
Frankl concluded that the principal motivation for those who coped with their awful circumstances with dignity, was that they were conscious of a reason for their existence, for example, a loved one waiting for them, unfinished work, etc.
He was fond of quoting Nietzsche, and I quote “a man who knows the why of his existence will be able to bear almost any how.”
Schools and parents, therefore, have a responsibility to expose children to other areas of life beyond just academics. A holistic approach, where learners are encouraged to excel academically, but also to participate in sports and arts, should be encouraged.
Once again, this forms part and parcel of our approach here at Wynberg.
Schools and parents should, therefore, develop the intelligence quotient, emotional quotient, social quotient, as well as the adversity quotient so that children can become multifaceted human beings able to do things independently of their parents.
In order to do so, schools and parents should not prepare the road for our children but prepare our children for the road.
Michael Barry, a member of the successful Postal Cycling Team that won the Tour de France on multiple occasions, shared these five concepts that could be applied to all schools:
- Stay up front, and look ahead: read the landscape and predict where society is going, but don’t get too far out on the fringe.
- Be flexible, fluid, and responsive: assess constantly changing conditions, but don’t jettison what you know best and what really works for you.
- Work smart: achieving your goals and staying with the leading pack while using as little energy as possible is the key.
- Watch out for erratic people: the fringe people who break things down and disturb the unity must be managed effectively.
- Make allies not enemies: use this approach in your striving for progress.
So, remember: life has meaning under all circumstances, even the most awful ones. We have the freedom to find meaning in what we do. Even when faced with unchangeable suffering, we are free to choose our attitude.
I thank you and enjoy this special evening!