Message from Mr Hymer: 30 April 2021
It has been very pleasing to see so many boys achieving their Diploma Awards over the last couple of weeks.
The Diploma is a great way to reward the full commitment to school life, broadening the experience of all participants. In receiving their award, I hope all the boys reflect upon what they have achieved and the lessons learned.
In my assembly this week, I talked to the boys about the concept of 'being average'. I would like to think that through the Diploma, every boy's portfolio of achievement is different and there is no such thing as an average contribution or average achievement.
I mentioned our fascination with knowing the average be it related to height, salary, pocket money, house price, longevity or length of the working week. I then moved on to how American engineers in the 1940s attempted to model the cockpit of a jet fighter around the carefully-established dimensions of the average pilot. The scientists and engineers took exhaustive measurements of height, shoulder width, waist, upper arm, lower arm etc in designing the perfect cockpit for their pilots.
Despite these efforts, many accidents continued to occur leading the scientists to re-evaluate their methodology. They decided to complete a careful study of over 4000 of their pilots measuring ten key body measurements listed above. They were surprised to find that no single pilot measured up to 'average' in all the measurements they undertook. This research helped them conclude that the cockpit would need to adapt to the dimensions of the pilot.
I then gave the example of a Harvard University professor named Todd Rose. Rose had an atypical route to academia having previously dropped out of high school in his senior year. After a series of low paid jobs, he attended night school, resurrecting his academic career before becoming a Bachelor of Science in Psychology. He then completed a master's degree in Mind, Brain and Education focusing on the Myth of Average. Todd used this analogy to describe how education has to adapt to the student.
I reassured the boys that we all have ‘spiky’ profiles in our strengths and weaknesses. Just as in the case of pilots, we all have our strengths. Careers can be forged on having or developing one or two special interests or skills. Whatever the future holds for the boys, my final message was never to accept that they are average.
Mr Hymer, Headmaster Warwick Junior School