Block 3 have been prompted to reflect on ‘character’ from The Guardian article, The real Lord of the Flies: what happened when six boys were shipwrecked for 15 months. For centuries western culture has been permeated by the idea that humans are selfish creatures. That cynical image of humanity has been proclaimed in films and novels, history books and scientific research. But in the last 20 years, something extraordinary has happened. Scientists from all over the world have switched to a more hopeful view of mankind. As we are living through this unprecedented lock down and as our theme in Wellbeing for Block 3 this year is ‘empathy’ I felt this cross-curricular article would resonate with Bedalians. The real Lord of the Flies is a tale of friendship and loyalty; one that illustrates how much stronger we are if we can lean on each other, and that we should always look for what is good and positive in people. As a Block 3 student reflects: “I enjoyed reading this article a lot. I found it very interesting and I enjoyed the expectations vs reality of it all. Books make it appear as if people being trapped on an island together will lose all sanity. Good to know that isn’t necessarily true!”
For Block 4’s theme on identity this year we have been exploring self-awareness and acceptance. Dr Brene Brown’s research and teachings permeate the entire Wellbeing curriculum provision at Bedales, so it was opportune to task students with watching her two TED talks. Dr Brown is perhaps best known for TEDx talk, The Power of Vulnerability. Recorded at an event in Houston in 2010, the talk is one of the five most popular in TED history, with more than 60 million views. It summarises a decade of Brown’s research on shame, vulnerability and courage.
By Phil Tattersall-King, Deputy Head (Co-curricular)
The connection between Petersfield Youth Theatre (PYT) and Bedales remains as strong as it always has been. Not only does Bedales help with provision of rehearsal space, there are always Bedales students and staff involved in the productions in some way.
In this year’s glorious production of C. S. Lewis’ The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Block 4 student Rowena le Poer Trench took on the role of Susan, one of the four children who stumble through the fur coats into a different world where animals talk and time works differently. Rowena carefully showed her character’s increasing awareness and wisdom as the plot developed, always being genuine and utterly engaged in the fiction.
It’s been a hands-on week in Classics classes this week. Block 4 students have been putting the finishing touches to their miniature triumphal arch (pictured above), which they made last week from the same sand and cement mix that was made to use the Pantheon and Colosseum in Rome. The class has been studying major monuments – from Stonehenge to the Romans – and this was an opportunity to try their hand at the Roman technique of making a mould and filling it. It seemed a fitting way of wrapping up this module of study before they produce their extended essays.
To complement what we can learn in class and from books and the internet, the ‘Famous Five’ who make up this year’s Ancient Civilisations BAC cohort visited the neolithic – and now World Heritage – sites of Avebury Stone Circle, West Kennett Long Barrow and Stonehenge itself.
The weather held fair – well, mostly – but the opportunities to ‘connect’ with these extraordinary monuments constructed 4,500 years ago were seized to the full! All the sites provoked thought and deep reaction – one student commented “I found it interesting that people put the rocks there and we don’t know why”. Stonehenge itself provoked mixed reactions, from “smaller than I thought” to “bigger than I expected”!
At Avebury, there were several expressions of making a ‘spiritual connection’ with the place, especially at a tree marked with ribbons by New Age devotees. Perhaps the most memorable experience was ‘being spooked’ by going into a 5,000-year-old tomb at West Kennett, and then eating lunch on top of it, with vistas spreading all around and fine views of Silbury Hill.
By Cheryl Osborne, Teacher of Biology and Careers Advisor
The beginning of the new year seems a good opportunity to introduce myself. I am in charge of careers education and guidance at Bedales. This involves taking a careers activity with Block 4, introducing them to the world of work, and supporting Block 5 to make informed A Level choices.
We do this via My Future Careers online tests, which are followed by interviews. Block 5 are currently doing the tests and the interviews take place with external, independent advisors in October. These are then followed up by myself and tutors as Block 5 start to make their A Level choices. I also work with Sixth Form students who are interested in apprenticeships, as well as mentoring potential medics and vets.
This year I am working closely with Alex Beckmann (Alumni Relations Manager) in External Relations. We are hoping to offer students the opportunity to meet Old Bedalians to discuss their career paths.
Our first event is on Friday 11 October, when we have 4 Old Bedalians who work in the field of Media coming in. This event is open to any student at Bedales and we hope that students will take this amazing opportunity to find out about this career field.
The competition, which is held annually by the John Locke Institute, encourages young people to develop independent thought, depth of knowledge, clear reasoning, critical analysis and persuasive style by exploring a range of challenging and interesting questions. Essays are invited from students across seven subjects: Philosophy, Politics, Economics, History, Psychology, Theology and Law.
Eben answered a question in Philosophy (“What is meaning? How much would it matter if we had none?”) while Will answered a question in Theology (“I believe in God. Which God should I believe in?”)
Both will now wait to hear whether they have been successful in their respective categories. There is a prize for the best essay in each category; each prize is worth £100, and the essays will also be published on the John Locke Institute’s website. The candidate who submits the best essay overall will also be awarded an honorary John Locke Institute Junior Fellowship, worth £500.