New Sophia Programme develops critical thinking, wisdom and knowledge

New Sophia Programme develops critical thinking, wisdom and knowledge

14 October 2021

Mr Roy Peachey, Coordinator of the Sophia Programme and Teacher of English

There has been a lot of excitement this term about the Sophia Programme, a new course we have developed especially for Woldingham’s Sixth Form. Sophia means “wisdom” and our hope is that students will grow in wisdom, as well as knowledge, throughout the course, while also developing into logical, critical thinkers.

Each week, small groups of students meet with Mr Cullen, Head of History of Art, or me, for a seminar based on a topic from our Tube Map*. They set out on the Anthropology, Culture, Ecology, Language, Science, Service, Society, or Wisdom line but are getting used to changing lines at frequent intervals because it is the connections that really matter.

So far this term we have looked at some big philosophical issues, such as the nature of time, learned about the history of the school site through the soles of our feet, and adopted a hands-on approach to cuneiform, one of the oldest writing systems in the world. Our programme is built around Socratic dialogue but we have also taken the opportunity to explore other ways of learning which are not always possible in the A Level classroom. I have even been writing some stories to help students explore philosophical ideas in a creative way. If you would like to hear the first two, here are the links: Sophia Story One and Sophia Story Two.

So where are we going next? After half term, we will be examining different sources of wisdom, exploring visual culture by means of seminars from The Bigger Picture, and preparing for our very first regional Philosothon, a kind of debating competition built around collaboration and exploration rather than the desire to grind one’s opponent into the dust. And then we move on again into wholly new territory – it’s an exciting journey we’ve started.

*To find out more about Woldingham’s Sophia Programme, and to discover the stops on our Tube Map and the connections to be made, click here.

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