Aristotle believed that education was central to the development of the whole person– “the fulfilled person was an educated person”. This famous Aristotelian idea should be extended to all schools through their SMSC programme and should enable pupils to have a vast array of experiences in school, not just in the classroom. In our quest to develop our young people we should consider their virtues and their human character as well as their academic rigour and success.
Having worked in economically deprived areas for fifteen years, independent thought and learning is a challenge for many of our pupils. The pupils I have taught often lack confidence and resilience and have a fear of being wrong, yet slowly introducing more philosophy, metacognition and independent reasoning can allow our pupils to flourish and can ultimately gain skills that they were not aware that they had the potential to develop. This can then be transferred into their future studies and the workplace.
With all this in mind I travelled to the International School of Copenhagen to observe the independent thought processes that take place regularly in the Danish curriculum, which was a wonderful experience.
I also worked with a series of pupils in my own school to identify the barriers they face to succeed academically and how these can be broken down and addressed.