Extraordinary People

Shout-out to the kids! How young people will rebuild a better society

Headteacher says positive education can reshape our future

People are often quick to point the finger at problems instead of solutions, yet this way of thinking poses a major threat on our future generations.

Instead, we should be guiding them with positivity and possibility, as this will pave the way for them to tap into their superpowers.

One man who knows first-hand the importance of shining a light on resilience is Neil Renton, headteacher at Harrogate Grammar School in North Yorkshire.

[Credit: Harrogate Grammar School]

Mr Renton, aka The Don of Positivity, believes that adults have a moral obligation to help children see the good in life and any other alternative outlook is a disservice to them.

“I am optimistic for this generation who have experienced the remarkable. ”

Neil Renton, Harrogate Grammar School headteacher

Speaking about his goals, he explained we need a narrative that recognises this generation has gone through something truly remarkable and they should be applauded for that.

Renton said: “This generation will rebuild, and they will create a more open and better society. This generation will be more resilient, they will value and seize what they have lost.

“In 20 years of working in schools, I have seen how high expectations and positivity win every time and undoubtedly unlock potential.”

[Credit: Sam Balye / Unsplash]

Renton continued: “It saddens me to think negative talk of a lost ‘Covid Generation’ serves only to perpetuate negativity and a self-fulfilling prophecy of no hope and failure. We must change this.”

Drawing parallels with a story he was told by a close friend, of their parents during World War II playing games in air raid shelters as kids and adapting to their surroundings, Renton believes children of today can also learn to survive in extraordinary times.

Writing in his piece for Positive News, Renton said: “Brain science shows us time and time again that negativity impinges on our brain performance.

“Emotionally charged negative thoughts divert energy from the pre-frontal cortex, used for cognitive function, to the limbic system (freeze, fight or flight), so you can’t think as clearly.

“Negativity triggers stress hormones, making neuron activity less efficient. We must not label a generation negatively if we want them to think clearly for all our futures.”

[Credit: Simon Maage / Unsplash]

Renton, who has also published a book on A-level teaching, stressed that using negative language and labelling this generation as “one that has fallen behind” is shaming, and instead of sympathising, it actually closes the door of hope and opportunity.

He concluded: “I am optimistic for this generation and I want to dedicate our collective efforts as educators to helping these children who have experienced the remarkable, become remarkable. ”

Bring on The Remarkables!

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