A significant number of our students have their learning experience extended and challenged by a variety of Masterclasses. There are opportunities for enrichment across a wide range of curriculum areas. Recent examples include:
A group of our Year 11 Scientists visited the Science Live event at Portsmouth Guildhall. During the day they were treated to short inspirational lectures on topics ranging from the future of computer technology to genetics. The event, which included a number of familiar scientists and experts in their respective fields, was aimed at giving pupils a taste of the type of work scientists are doing right now and how it is changing our world.
Our Linguists were challenged to a day of high order thinking with Portsmouth Evening News where they had access to their publishing software and to the breaking news items to produce the front page of the newspaper in French or Spanish. This stretched their writing skills and gave them the opportunity to broaden and develop their knowledge of vocabulary.
The River People Theatre Company came to work with our GCSE and A Level Drama students to discuss the role of puppetry in theatre. This was a great opportunity for them to understand how puppeteers are inspired to create puppets and they were given the challenge to create their own puppets and work out how they would move and communicate. The students had previously seen a stunning performance of Lily through the Dark and they were very enthusiastic to have the chance to produce their own mini play using the Theatre Company’s puppets.
In March 2012 Drama students enjoyed a Masterclass which drew lessons from the career of noted actor and director, Steven Berkoff.
The interactive workshop was run by George Dillon, an actor who has worked closely with Berkoff and who regularly leads sessions with students and professional performers. Mr Dillon demonstrated a range of theatrical techniques designed to open students’ eyes to new ways of expressing emotions on stage. His audience was impressed by his emphasis on putting one’s whole body into the depiction of character.
A number of our English students visited the village of Chawton, in the Meon Valley, where the novelist Jane Austen lived in the early nineteenth century. As well as having a tour of the house and the nearby country estate, with its library, they were given an opportunity to work on textual analysis exercises. The day helped to bring to life the work of the novelist and the context in which she wrote.
Our young Historians went to the National Museum of the Royal Navy where they were given a unique chance to develop historical enquiry skills to explore the role of the Royal Navy in investigating and suppressing the slave trade. They worked in groups to interpret fascinating primary sources including images, official reports, diaries and maps. The evidence was then used to create and present a display.
Thanks to the University of Portsmouth’s able day events, our Geographers were involved with fieldwork in Gunwharf, where their objective was to investigate the sustainability of the site now and in the future. They used a variety of primary and secondary evidence to help them answer this question and have been able to draw on behind the scenes information to present their findings in the form of a presentation.
A selection of Year 9 pupils passed a very productive few hours in February 2012 when they spent the day in the textiles room designing and making their own textile product.
Each pupil learnt how to create a design on fabric using batik, which is a wax resist dying technique. They then enhanced their design further using hand quilting and experimental surface decoration. Each pupil's design was then transformed into a bag or a cushion, which they could take home.
In March 2012 a number of students who have shown themselves to be high achievers in Year 11 were invited to participate in the annual Study Day for able students in Oxford. This well-established annual event proved a great success with those who took part. The day was led by a number of eminent scholars who covered a range of thought-provoking topics. These included a discussion of the part played by violence in international relations, the nature of space, the exciting possibilities of quantum science and the difference between knowledge and belief. In the afternoon the students took part in a debate on the effects of pornography in society. It was a most worthwhile day, which broadened the horizons of the students.
The students not only gained a great deal but also were a great credit to the College. The day certainly enriched their learning experience and helped to develop their skills in independent learning by giving them a taste of a university style of teaching. This should make them even more effective learners in the future and motivate them towards achieving their best.