Vicarious learning is a very powerful experience for young people. It is essentially about learning through observation or hearing rather than through direct instruction. Vicarious learning can happen in many ways – perhaps through observing peers, watching television, playing video games or watching family interactions.
Outdoor Education at Westminster is a great vehicle for vicarious learning as students see their peers doing things they thought they couldn’t do, empowering them to do it themselves in a much more positive and determined manner. Of course, vicarious learning can have a negative side too as young people can also learn from poor role models who imply that negative social norms or unbecoming behaviour is acceptable.
Recently, our students have had the opportunity to experience some fantastic vicarious learning through the actions of the Class of 2018. The positive way in which our students celebrate their time at Westminster provides all students with a powerful vicarious learning opportunity. The manner in which our students show their excitement and mixed emotions about leaving, and their gratitude for their time at Westminster, is heart-warming. This year was no exception with the Class of 2018 demonstrating a genuine level of respect and appreciation towards each other, their teachers and the School of which they have been a part.
Too often in our society we do not express our appreciation in a becoming manner. Instead of ensuring that we leave places better than we found them for others, all too often we leave them in a state of disarray. Unfortunately, this is all too often seen in camping grounds and scenic sites across Australia. Perhaps at Westminster we are bucking the trend. I am delighted to report that not only did the Class of 2018 leave our School a better place, but they also provided a fantastic opportunity for our younger students to learn vicariously about how to celebrate their time at Westminster in a positive manner.