Ideas worth sharing

The ability, to succinctly communicate ideas, to influence an audience, to develop the confidence, to inspire . . . these are ideas worth sharing. How do we as a school achieve this?

In addition to our whole-school Monday morning senior school assembly, we have two other gatherings during the week. On Wednesday morning we have an assembly for just the lower school, Key Stage 3, years 7 to 9 and on Thursday it’s just the upper school Key Stage 4 and 5 – years 10 to 13.

These Key Stage assemblies are vehicles for us to have smaller events where we can deliver age particular information to the groups but they also allow for a more workshop or interactive formats and allow for discussion, debate and training sessions.

As with the whole school assembly we may have a variety of different presenters leading the sessions but the most important and rewarding part of these gatherings is when the students design and lead the presentation themselves.

Last week, in only the fourth week of the new school year, we had the first of our students who stepped up to take the platform to share something that they were passionate about, interested in or knowledgeable about. Manfred (aged 17) asked me if he could lead the upper school assembly. Although he is a quietly confident individual, few would have expected the well-prepared eloquently delivered presentation. It was his first-hand account of spending the summer in his home country of Hong Kong and the origin of, and his perspective on, the on-going protests there in a talk about freedom. He certainly set the bar very high for future talks and yet a number of individuals have already approached me since asking for their slot. You see, success begets success. Modelling ideal behaviour, showing how it’s done, having peers communicate direct to their peers is empowering stuff.

That’s why we have our programme of tutor group led presentations. We began this week by having the groups choose at random from a list of prepared topics. They will now research and design their presentation around that topic for delivery much later in the term. Up until then they’ll receive hints and tips on presentation skills, teamwork and leadership to guide them to get the most and the best out of each other.

The topics this year are:

  • Climate Change: what can we really do?
  • What do young people care about these days?
  • Fyling Hall’s Got Talent!
  • Why are people saying Social Media is a bad thing?
  • What is Free Speech? Do we have it or not?
  • Who’s looking at your data?
  • What will the future of work look like?
  • Should billionaires even exist?
  • What is Fake News and what should we do about it?
  • How do we know what’s right and what’s wrong?

I hope you’ll agree that these are curious topics that require a bit of thought and planning. The groups will also have to decide who says what, who will be the project manager, who will organise the technical aspects, who will do the research, prepare scripts if needed and a host of other jobs. 

Being able to succinctly communicate ideas, to influence an audience, to develop the confidence to inspire are all vital skills in today’s and tomorrow’s world. These are all ideas worth sharing.

By Ayd Instone, Head of Enrichment and Extra-Curricular