One trend in education which is good (not all of them are) is the greater opportunities for children to engage in advocacy and practical democracy. It gives them the chance to marshal arguments; to speak; to seek to persuade others; and, when the issue is adjudicated, to accept victory magnanimously, or defeat courageously.
Last year Callum T, a thoughtful young lad then in Upper First, spoke in Assembly and persuaded us that the money raised on our school Mufti Day be given to a charity in Western Sydney helping underprivileged children.
But he did more than that. He showed us that children, no matter how young, should have the opportunity to speak about those causes dear to their heart.
So we decided to build on Callum’s example and, this year as Mufti Day approached, in each class, children were invited to advocate for a particular charity. Each class then voted on the class winner. We then had a special assembly where the dozen class winners spoke. The charities were wide ranging the RSPCA, the Nike Foundation, and various others – and then the children returned to class and voted.
The winner by a considerable margin was the Westmead Children’s Hospital Liver Unit. But of course, in another way, everyone was a winner.
And now another opportunity for magnanimity in triumph, and courage in defeat awaits the present 5th class as we go through the process of deciding Head Boy, Head Girl, House Captains and so on.
Read the students’ speeches here