“Curiosity is the wick in the candle of learning” William Arthur Ward
Let’s be honest, school is just the beginning, the start of what will hopefully be a lifetime of absorbing and enjoying a wealth of worldly wisdom. Curiosity about life in all its aspects is something to be treasured and encouraged and yet with the pressures of exams it can be so easy to get bogged down with learning, rather than truly excited by it.
Academic attainment is of course a key element of life at Putney High School, but debate, discussion and innovative thinking should all be vital ingredients in every teacher’s toolkit if we are to avoid a one-dimensional, ‘teaching to the test’ approach.
Happily, at Putney, the spirit of ambition is heavily underpinned by a healthy love of learning. Being genuinely open to new ideas and learning to think independently are key elements of that. Yes, our students are bright, bold and ambitious, but we also encourage them to be intellectually curious and genuinely interested to examine the world from a wider viewpoint.
That’s why on Monday 9 October, we will be offering the senior school an opportunity to “bunk off” the usual timetable in favour of a day of learning what can only be described as ‘cool stuff’, and learning it purely for its own sake. Entitled “PIE₂” the event forms part of the school’s ‘Putney Ideas Exchange’ programme and is intended to be an innovative and entirely different learning experience, designed to push the boundaries of thought and the confines of the school curriculum.
It promises to be a truly inspirational day, with all the students and staff of the Senior School freed to indulge their curiosities and engage in a learning experience unlike any other, and it’s not just Putney High School students who will benefit; two local state schools (Ark Putney and The Priory C of E) will be joining us in our discoveries.
The morning will begin with a keynote speech by renowned lecturer and broadcaster, Susan Blackmore, expert in memes, evolutionary theory and consciousness among other things. Students will be treated to an array of workshops, panel debates and guest experts from worlds as diverse as Arts leadership, cyber security, Bollywood dancing, investment banking and even sushi making! All the action will be live streamed and there will be an opportunity for students to submit questions via a video booth, as well as a whole host of interactive activities online. Organiser, Pippa Wadey, Head of Learning and Enrichment, said, “We want to cater to the interests and strengths of all our students and present a series of inspirational industry leaders who will introduce them to a range of challenging ideas.”
PIE₂ will give our students the chance to face unanswerable questions and to explore ideas they’ve never encountered before. It’s about broadening horizons; helping them to become original thinkers: inquisitive, intellectually curious and with a love of learning, simply for the sake of it. These are the qualities that will give our children the edge to succeed in their future learning, and the confidence they will need to embark in a world where facts are there to be challenged and new truths are to be made.