Shrewsbury School

Who Do You Think You Are?

Friday 22 May 2020

An update on the fantastic Third Form theme week! 

As a break to the intense routine of remote learning, the Third Form were given the opportunity for a slightly slower pace of life for the week leading up to the Coach Weekend.  Not that they would be working any less hard, but in a different way on extended tasks that allowed the creative juices to flow more freely than they might within the strictures of the normal timetable!

Throughout the year, the Third Form have been following the Origin curriculum, and have had various sessions entitled "Reading the World".  The theme week, therefore, was an opportunity to draw together some of the threads discussed in these sessions in a more extended way, by looking at the concept of identity:  who we are; what we mean in the context of the world unfolding around us; what identity means in a modern age where we are splitting ourselves between the physical reality of who we are as a person, and the virtual reality of the person we present ourselves online.

The week was separated into the four strands of the Floreat model of education followed here at Shrewsbury:  Creative, Intellective, Active and Reflective.  Each day, therefore, allowed pupils to explore themselves within each of these concepts of identity.

Monday saw them attempting to create a piece of expressive work that conveyed identity and a reflection of who they thought they were, in the form of any one of a self-portrait, dance, a piece of self-composed music or song, a piece of design, or a sculpture.  They were asked to try to capture the essence of aspects of their character, such as their nature, personality, expressions, values, and beliefs (to name but a few).  The success of the day was captured by many by video, .mp4 soundtrack, and photograph, some of which is showcased here.

Tuesday's task was more intellective, and they were asked to research their family history and create a family tree.  The challenge for some was how to elaborate on those one or two of your family members who perhaps lived at an interesting time, worked an interesting job, or whose story they were particularly intrigued by?  In attempting to bring this to life, there were video interviews, photographs, and family memorabilia all exhibited remotely.  Some included highlights of one or two of their ancestors who experienced key moments of history at first hand - there was even reports that one ancestor was one of the four knights responsible for the death of Thomas à Becket in Canterbury Cathedral!

Wednesday was on the theme of 'active' identity, with the two tasks of: producing a piece of reflective work on their own background experiences of a sport, an activity, or an outdoor pursuit, and to explore the origin and evolution of a sport or an activity of their choosing.  There were numerous interesting comparisons made between then and now - who knew that Lacrosse was an Olympic sport in 1904 and 1908, and as for the changes in the equipment!  Of course, Shrewsbury's own claim to the original rules of Association Football was explored by several keen exponents of that particular field.

Thursday brought the week to a close, and gave an opportunity to seek an answer to the question, 'Who do you think you are?'  After such a busy three days, it was important to reflect upon what they had learned and, indeed, discovered.  Each Third Formers therefore produced a new piece of creative, intellective, or active work that sought to answer the question itself, and a short one-page summary reflecting on what they had learned from the  process.

To judge the success of the week overall by words alone is impossible, so here are just a few pictures that showcase a small fraction of the work that was completed in the week.

Luke W (SH) - A Reflection on ‘Who do you think you are?’

This week has been fundamentally a chance to rediscover my personality and definitions as not only a human but as a person who has a conscience and emotions. Through my paintings I have attempted to convey some of my passions and thoughts. To exemplify this, the astronomical painting reflected not only on my fascination for deep space and galactical entities, but it places you as a person in perspective to the grandeur of the observable universe. Instead of questioning yourself on your origins and your importance on this planet, it is more humbling to look at the bigger picture and come to the realisation that we humans and indeed this planet are immensely insignificant in comparison to the universe.

 Why throw away precious time, troubling yourself over who you are, and instead make the most of what you have and the opportunities you are met with because the reality is that your actions and your empathy is what matters to the wider society. My other painting illustrates the tranquillity of the planet that we live on, and how one peaceful boat-ride upon a lake can change your perspective on life. These paintings depict my feelings towards this question: although it can be helpful to have an insight on how you came to be and what you may want to do with your future, the ultimate rarity in life is time itself.

While we make decisions, while we cycle through the beautiful countryside or when we are at home fast asleep… the clock keeps ticking. Nature and nurture make up who we are, we are born with capabilities, and we can improve on our capabilities also through experience and mistakes but what remains paramount is the time we have left on this planet. It is what we do with it that can make a profound impact.

Ben P (O) - picture of my face made from photos

Ben P - picture of my face made from photos

Cailtin F (G) - Self Portrait

Issy K (EDH) - Self Portrait in Needlework

Luke W (SH) - Boat Trip

Sam L (R) - SCUBAman

Janice W (G) - Who do you think you are?

Who do you think you are?

I was asked

The question looking both ways

Before crossing my mind

A camera

Focusing on the beauty

Focusing on the good times

Capturing these moments perfectly

Frame by frame

Detail by detail

A book with empty pages

With endless possibilities

Begging for a story to be discovered

A blank canvas

A fresh start, a fresh opportunity

Eternally versatile

Waiting for a masterpiece

I am the photographer

With stars in my eyes

Listening to the wonderfully mechanical sounds

Whirring and clicking

Looking at the photos

A remarkable story in each one

Reminiscing pleasant memories

Embedded deep in the past

I am the author

Wielding a pen

As if it were a magic wand

As if it were a might sword

Weaving raw emotion onto pages

Like a bird weaving a nest

Reading words delicately flowing like lace

I am the artist

Bright, almost garish strokes

Running over instinctively

To the perfect spot

Creating fantastical worlds

Creating masterpieces

Resonating with others

Who do you think you are?

I’m the kind of person who doesn’t answer to these type of questions

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