Thriving Minds conference stretches and challenges students

Thriving Minds conference stretches and challenges students

29 November 2022

Mrs Katharine Payne, Kritikos Co-ordinator

“Very, very mind-expanding,” said one Kritikos student after a trip to the Thriving Minds conference in London on Wednesday 23 November. This inspirational and thought-provoking conference (which you can read more about from Amelia and Laura below) was stimulus for our academic scholars’ Kritikos curiosity projects, a substantial piece of research, which culminates in a presentation to staff, governors, and parents at the end of the summer term. This year’s theme for their projects is “180” (to mark Woldingham’s anniversary), a topic they can take in any direction they choose.

Throughout this term, Kritikos students have been challenged to think deeply, question and analyse in their weekly seminars, led by both staff and students.  Staff seminar topics included fake news and the question How can God be omniscient and allow free will? Student-led sessions covered tips for top GCSE grades and presentations from Oxbridge applicants on their specialist subjects. Looking ahead to university applications, or even job interviews, senior staff interviewed each student about their academic interests. This was followed by an individual coaching session, where students set targets for their future studies.

Among further stimulating seminars planned for next term, Mr Peachey will lead a session on the theme Technology is not Neutral.

Thriving Minds conference - Amelia A and Laura K, Year 9

 At the Thriving Minds day, we listened to fascinating in-depth talks on a variety of subjects. The first was on Justice, Truth and Beauty, where we heard about examples and theories that made us think about whether our judgements of beauty are societal constructs or a part of reality and whether justice exists. In the next talk, we learnt tips for Oxbridge interviews. In the third, we were introduced to the four factors that lead to outstanding achievements: deliberate practice, self-control, encouragement and growth mindset.

After lunch, in the ‘big debate’, we discussed everything from Greek mythology to medicine. By thinking about how subjects overlap with each other, we were stretched and challenged. As Vaisivi said, “This lecture made you think outside the box, which I found very challenging as well as interesting.”

The final lecture of the day was the mind-blowing Rock in 11 Dimensions by Dr Mark Lewney, an expert in explaining physics through music. We learned about the physics of sound, spring theory, and the Big Bang and thought about the representation of an object in different dimensions. When explaining the difference between the heat field and the gravitational field, Dr Lewney shocked everyone by throwing a brick into the audience, which turned out to be very light and soft. As one of our Kritikos friends described, “It was my favourite lecture of the day - I was surprised how much fun physics can be.” (No offence to physics.)

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