Problem solving skills are essential in virtually any workplace environment. Employers want to know that employees have the ability to think creatively and come up with innovative solutions. Problem solving is about using logic, as well as imagination and lateral thinking to make sense of a solution. By providing our pupils with the opportunities and challenges to develop their creative thinking, we allow them to develop these skills from the beginning of their senior school life.
Pupils took part in a day of activities to learn about aspects of WW1 not covered by the History curriculum, designed to spark their creativity and capture their imagination. Pupils cooked for victory recreating wartime recipes such as potato chocolate biscuits; created an outdoor art installation using a lino printing technique on soldier silhouettes; packed up their troubles in an old kit bag and sang popular songs from the time; using original images taken during the First World War, pupils ‘fused’ to these images, dressed up as soldiers and their families, using green-screen technology and digital photography.
As part of national STEM week, our Year 7 and 8 Pupils went on a research trip to Tulley’s Farm where they took part in an escape room challenge. The mental and physical adventure based game requires players to use their enquiry, problem solving and communication skills to solve a series of puzzles and riddles within an allotted time frame. Having experienced an escape room, the young mathematicians were then challenged to use their creativity, logic and mathematical codes to construct two themed escape rooms of their own. Teams of teachers and pupils battled against the clock to solve the zombie apocalypse-themed challenges and avoid being locked in!
Taking inspiration from “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” pupils in Years 7 and 8 used their creative skills to combine beatboxing with Shakespeare. Pupils had prepared for the workshop by exploring the origins of poetry as an oral tradition and how this developed over time. Their next step was to learn about beatboxing, which they then combined with Shakespeare. Enthusiastic pupils were initially introduced to the core sounds of beatboxing, created with the microphone and later moved on to learn about freestyle performance and the whole experience of being a beatboxer.
After learning how to beatbox, students were challenged to rework parts of the stand-off between the lovers in ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ to incorporate beatboxing and performance poetry. The pupils manipulated Shakespeare’s script to make their own modern lyrics, but kept Shakespeare’s original insults. Pupils worked together, experimented with their ideas, picked up new skills and gained an insight into an industry that is quite new in terms of its mainstream music.
Following successful auditions in the Autumn term, a group of drama pupils performed an abridged version of ‘Othello’ at an exhilarating evening of Shakespeare productions at the Leatherhead Theatre. The event is part of the Shakespeare Schools Festival, organised by the Shakespeare Schools Foundation. Sixth Form pupil Sharika, played the leading role of Othello and describes her experience of the performance. “Leading up to the final performance my nerves and excitement were undeniably high – this was my first stage show after nearly two years. I was grateful to be able to get back into the process of immersing myself into a character, especially one as complex and tragic as Othello, and then to be able to showcase the cast’s work on a larger platform. The entire rehearsal process was immensely engaging and provided invaluable learning experiences for everyone in the cast, from the synchronisation and discipline needed to work in an ensemble, to the confidence to express individual abilities and talents.”