What can’t be taught with technology

Jill Davies
20th October 2015 at 16:54

Subject Genius Jill Davies

We’re a new Studio School that helps pupils excel in computing and creative technologies. Someone recently described us as the ‘Hogwarts for hackers’ which made me smile.


We have lots of talented logical and spatial thinkers, so our CAT data tells us. This means that they sometimes struggle to communicate what their brains are processing. We wanted to help and our response is Personal and Social Philosophy. 


We get students to talk and reflect on the deeper questions of life, including ‘What makes a good relationship?’ We use assembly as a portal to develop deeper thinking and share with our students a news clip about a new Brazilian ‘man-ranking’ app, Lulu. We use this stimulus as we hypothesise many reactions from the students; ‘This is an invasion of privacy…’ and ‘Men have been doing this for years ….’


On returning to the classroom, the Year ten and 12 students and I form an enquiry circle to discuss the questions the app raised.


The benefit of an enquiry circle is the built-in thinking time. It really helps those who are not so strong at putting their thoughts into words and helps them take ownership of discussions.


The power of philosophical enquiry is its ability to generate high order questions and they don’t disappoint. During the lesson, students find themselves discussing questions such as ‘Is there only ever one true love in your life?', 'What does a bad relationship feel like?’, 'Is true happiness only found in marriage?' and ‘Is a solely online relationship completely fulfilling?’


My favourite part is observing students who do not normally participate in class discussions avidly debating whether or not physical contact was fundamental in a positive relationship… and all this without a single iPad in sight!


Try this lesson for yourself using this lesson plan.


Jill Davies is vice principal of The Studio, Liverpool