This Monday and Tuesday was a special moment for students studying English at KS4 and KS5, along with their teachers. The world renowned poet, novelist, dramatist, film-maker and professor, Owen Sheers, was in school from the 24-25th February 2020 to help our students and teachers get to grips with a range of literary topics.
Starting Monday by spending a whole day working with the A-Level class who are studying his collection, Skirrid Hill, Owen shed light on the stories and processes behind this award-winning collection. Then on Tuesday he did some work with all of Year 10 and 11 on his novel, ‘Resistance’, which was made into a movie in 2011.
The day continued with a screening of his BBC movie-poem, ‘The Green Hollow’ for English and History A-Level students and one last Q&A and debate with the Literature A-Level class.
The day ended with Owen running a CPD staff-training session for our English staff about how to harness the creative process in young people, getting our own teachers laughing and crying as we had a go at writing our own poems.
This visit has been a wonderful opportunity for students to encounter one of the UK’s most exciting and treasured young writers, and for our teachers to see the human being behind an exam text which many of us have now been teaching for ten years.
We greatly look forward to the chance to work with other exciting world-class practitioners from the full range of disciplines in the future.
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Beach clean ups took place this month at Anse Gaulette and Beau Vallon Bay. The International School parents, teachers and students joined forces with the Northholme Hilton , Ocean Project and Four Seasons hotels to clean up the beaches and beach crests. The Ocean Project is presently looking at the litter collected over a period of time and working out the sources for all the rubbish. At Beau Vallon there was a lot of micro plastic and bottle tops and at Anse Gaulette there were many kg of plastic waste and champagne bottles as this is a beach which is popular for weddings and BBQs. The students who joined us with their parents varied in age from 4 to 18 years and all were enthusiastic about the clean ups and keen to do more to create a clean environment for ocean wildlife and for us! Many thanks to all parents and students who joined us to help clean up the world. We look forward to seeing our beautiful clean beaches once again.
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As usual, International School Seychelles’ A-Level Literature class are studying a collection of poetry this term. This time however, there’s a twist! The author, Owen Sheers, who they have been studying on the Cambridge A-Level syllabus, will be coming to speak to them in February to answer all of their questions about his poetry and what it all means. This is a rare treat for a group of KS5 students to encounter poetry, not just as something to be learned for an exam, but a living, breathing artistic medium.
The author will also be doing some work with KS4 students relating to his novel, ‘Resistance’, which was made into a movie in 2011, as well as hosting a screening of his 2016 BBC production ‘The Green Hollow’, a poetic movie about the Aberfan disaster of 1966.
Head of English, Ms Julie Donlon, has said ‘we are delighted to be able to give this opportunity to our students. Teaching an English syllabus out here in Seychelles means that the cultural context of the writers can often be very abstract and remote. It is such a privilege to be able to offer the students the chance to go right to the source. What we have been finding whilst teaching these poems, is that so many of the poets’ experiences in rural Wales resonate with our students’ experiences over here. Great writers like Sheers really get through to the fact that, wherever you are from, there are things which we all share. I hope it is really valuable to their examination results, but I also hope they take away from it a special opportunity to engage with a world-class writer.’
ISS’ Principal, Mr. Ashish Bhatnagar says that “any authors’, or poets’ visit to the school is a worthwhile experience and it creates a very influential connection between the students and the writer’s expressions. I am excited that our students will have an opportunity to interact with the author of the book they are studying. Sheers will also be having some sessions with our teachers that will form a part of our CPD.”
Joining Mr Sheers will be the award-winning artist, Katherine Sheers, to whom he is married. She will be taking opportunities to engage with the local art community, as well as being available for advice to ISS’ A-Level art students.