Imagine a bus of 45 children and their teachers from East London schools, an old Routemaster bus, with a conductor interrupting the chatter with a few words about the history and buildings that they pass. The kids are excited by the historic bus, and peer out the windows as London goes by. We even see a calvacade of police and a minister of government go by...
The bus has picked them up at their schools, and they are on a journey to celebrate them as activists in their schools, as school councillors etc, and to celebrate the film 'To Sir, With Love' and its scene of using the 15 bus to take the children for a day out to the Victoria and Albert Museum. More importantly it celebrates the school which the film is based on, St Georges-in-the-East, lead by headmaster, Alexander Bloom. E.R.Braithwaite's book, on which the film is based, is
The children arrive at Tower Hamlets Town Hall, where they go to a committee room and chat to children from a different school, after a short introduction to the UN Children's Day, Local Goverment Day called #Ourday and the Being Human Festival, a festival celebrating humanities and their power to develop our humanity. They are given a little demonstration of what they are to do, with a ppt slide of Harriet Finlay Johnson's Sompting School children from early 1900s interviewing a girl holding a flower. Like 'hot-seating' now, she would get the children to choose an object, that they found on their rambles, research them, and then be interviewed, as if they were the object. Also in French schools a teacher would get the children to bring chosen objects to school for the class to describe and explore, through questions, and to create a card caption, with information they have researched, as a growing encyclopedia... lead by the children's objects, questions and research.
The children, in pairs were then handed quotes from Earl Lytton's speech for the 2nd Reading of the Act (23rd July 1918) and from the London County Council's report, and asked to discuss them, what was being argued, did they agree or disagree, what would be the reasons for this.
They then went into the Tower Hamlets Town Hall Council debating chamber, which had been booked by the directly elected Mayor, John Biggs. After a welcome from the Deputy Mayor, Rachel Blake, celebrating Local Government Day (#OurDay) and UN Children's Day, and after answering questions, starting the debate with asking them what they thought of active learning. The children debated their views on learning, teaching and schools.
Next the students went back into the Committee Room to have a Fairtrade Orange break, for the
And before leaving they were given a final briefing about the rest of the day. They were told of Nellie Dick, who as an eighteen year old Jewish girl in Whitechapel, despite little support from the adults she created a school run by the children, as she was fed-up of the local school's propaganda of state support and reliance of obedience and children passively being taught. She created a 'Modern School', inspired by Francesco Ferrer. It was a school which the children ran, choosing visiting teachers/lecturers and creating their own lessons and courses.
|Nellie Dick with her husband, her school students created a human shield to protect Suffragettes like Sylvia Pankhurst.|
Sadly the cakes ordered for everyone to celebrate the centenary of teenagers right to schooling was delivered late, and will be used with the school children and teachers at a later date.
The power point and teaching materials will be posted here shortly.
The next blog will be about the next stage in their No.15 bus trip... to the Whitechapel Gallery...