Beyond Aristotle

Whilst discipline is important and inculcating good habits is nothing to be shy of, I am keen to go a lot further than this with our pupils.

Sometimes I stumble across things not because of a theoretical discussion or because of an argument but more just because its part of what we do without thinking about it.

Yesterday proved just such a moment. From a discussion about behaviour and discipline and the rights and wrongs of Aristotle’s ethics, Mark Taylor (VP) and I came up with the idea of getting a group of pupils to read Aristotle’s ideas on ethics and discuss them. We also want to open it up to interested staff. This is just something Mark is doing anyway with his Great Books programme and the sort of thing we do constantly in Ethics lessons. It was just a natural response to a problem. Work it out together by studying the key texts and then engage in a live practical discussion with staff and pupils.

Not that remarkable, other than we read the key texts properly and discuss them and then debate out the issues seriously. The sort of thing we ought to do all the time but can just become another dreadful CPD event on behaviour.

And before you say it, no that doesn’t mean I am listening to the children and letting them tell me what to do. Its not a focus group, its a study group. We all learn from it, because we create a space to think about ideas seriously.

The best bit is I have no idea what each of us will learn from this before we start. But I guarantee we will all take steps forward.

I certainly will. It will help me develop a critique of the narrow behaviourist view of pupils and schools that is becoming so widespread.

I am damn sure I will be able to write something about this when we have done it.


David Perks