Monthly Archive for November, 2009

On Climate Change

Toward the end of this term we chose to dedicate our weekly inquiry period to having a debate with the whole school about climate change.  This was offered as a way of gaining some understanding of the challenges facing world leaders when they gather in Copenhagen later this month for the global summit on reducing global warming.   We organized ourselves into different countries and then communicated our respective Nation’s requests and needs regarding a global agreement on reducing carbon emissions.  Just as in the wider world we came to see that there are a range of conflicting positions in the world.  Our sense is that it will not be an easy process to find an agreement that is fair and sustainable for our people and our planet.

It seemed important for us not just to talk about climate change but also take some positive action too.  In this regard we have now signed up to 10:10, that national campaign to reduce our carbon emissions by 10% in the next year, 2010.  We are also collecting donations from staff and students for a project to buy fuel-efficient small stoves for countries in Central America.  These stoves both help to reduce smoke related disorders in the populace and also reduce fuel consumption and thus carbon emissions.

Rupert Marques, Staff from UK

Worldviews and Wholeness

My purpose in preparing this is in response to my feeling that the notion of wholeness needs clarifying and putting into context. I would like to do this by focusing on the role played by the scientific view in our cultural worldview and showing in simple terms how this scientific view has changed, and proposing that this change points to a need for a change in the worldview of our culture.

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A Socratic Gathering at Brockwood

One of the mature students needed to read the Symposium and the Republic for her external degree, and was looking for people who were interested in reading with her. One of the students had never read any of Plato’s dialogues, and was very interested in doing so. In fact, I think he said he had not read any original text from the Greek philosophers. I had done a seminar a few years ago which covered some of the dialogues, so I thought that it would be a good idea to read them using the contents of that seminar’s program. Long story short, we ended up meeting every Wednesday with one of us in charge of making the photocopies of what we were supposed to read each day.

So, what is it that we want to get out of reading? Leaving aside the obvious academic interest of the mature student referred before, I think there are three pillars that hold our decision of reading the dialogues.

Diego {Mexico}, Karuna {India}, Pedro {Chile}

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Listen to ‘Released’


composed and performed by Saskia Griffiths – Moore, Student from UK

Open Huddle

When I first came to Brockwood as a prospective mature student, I found the dialogues that I attended to be very meaningful and important in my life. However, I felt like there were not enough of them happening during the school week. It was important to me to get the students involved more so then they seemed to be. I wanted to show them what can happen if you really are honest with yourself and listen to what is being said. I pondered over the ways I could do this which would be most likely to succeed. It was very important for me to get peoples attention and really entice them to open themselves to questions they have never considered before. The idea came to start a group on my own that met weekly. I did not want it to be categorized as a traditional dialogue so that it might grab some attention from those who do not give dialogues a second thought or consideration. I felt that for this group to succeed it needed to address the problems of dialogues already taking place at Brockwood.

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Modern Movement Introduction

Modern Movement is a non-exam, team-taught class which was introduced at the beginning of the year to offer students 16+ an opportunity to pursue theme- and perspective-based learning.  It proposes that the changes which came about in all spheres of Western culture between 1900 & 1925 or, by extension, 1889 & 1929 are less a matter of subject specificity (science, art, literature, psychology, social science) and more a matter of how we see the world.  Multiple examples are given from all fields to support this theme/ perspective thesis.

Stephen Smith, Staff from UK

Few Words on the Scotland Trip

This term a group of students and staff went up to Scotland to engage in some restoration work with the charity “Trees for Life”.  We spent a week removing wire fencing and planting trees in the highlands in order to support the re-growth of native forest.   It was a great week with lots of hard work and time to take in the beauty of the Scottish wilderness.

Click here to view the gallery of the trip.

Scotland Trip