21 September 2014

Assembly: Is there a moral imperative to commit to your education?

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Here is the presentation I’m using for my assemblies this week. One aim is to raise awareness about the persistence of poverty in other parts of the world and to make a connection through thinking about the children as being regular kids just like them….

Assembly: Is there a moral imperative to commit to your education?

Here is the presentation I’m using for my assemblies this week.

One aim is to raise awareness about the persistence of poverty in other parts of the world and to make a connection through thinking about the children as being regular kids just like them.

I will share some stats and stories from Indonesia and Africa- scenarios where children are desperate to go to school but have massive obstacles in their way – distances to travel, absence of basics like pencils and paper, the need to share the family labour for survival and so on.  But the kids are still just like them – people with hopes, dreams and a sense of fun.

Another aim is to get across a sense of responsibility for the lives of others. Attending our school is a privilege; and that comes with responsibility. When others do not have the privileges we enjoy, we have a duty towards them even if that can seem very indirect and remote.

Imagine if these kids:

Young children growing up in poverty in an Indonesian Kampung

Young children growing up in poverty in an Indonesian Kampung

…has access to all of this?!

A school offering extraordinary opportunities

A school offering extraordinary opportunities

Given what we have, don’t we have a moral duty to take maximum advantage? That’s the way to gain the best education possible so that we can make the biggest contribution to the world that we live in; to gain the greatest understanding of the world that we share; to develop the knowledge and skills needed to solve some of the big problems we face as a global society.

A final aim with this assembly is to reinforce the message of inclusive,high aspirations for all. Some of my students think of themselves as victims; they don’t relate to the idea of being privileged. Of course, economically, many are significantly disadvantaged in the UK context.  But, on a scale of global educational opportunities they are hugely privileged.  And, because of that, they can and should walk tall with a determination to give back to others, just like everyone else. Perhaps not immediately  – but, in time, through their work, their votes and the way they live.  It’s their duty too.

Delivered in the right spirit, this can be an uplifting and motivating message. That’s the goal. I don’t think it can be too early in a student’s life to sow the seeds of moral purpose; it’s a powerful motivator.

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  • Year 10 Student
    Posted at 19:53h, 25 September

    year 10 student. Terra house. i was in your assembly today (25/09/2014) and the so called “preach” you gave was outstanding. I think as a music school we should come up with a whole poverty track which can be sent around to get the message out because personally poverty is a serious matter and i think us as a school should help build towards the end of poverty

    • Tom Sherrington
      Posted at 21:43h, 25 September

      Thanks. Delighted that you feel the same as I do. Come to see me so we can talk about the music idea.

  • Education Panorama (October ’14) by @TeacherToolkit | @TeacherToolkit
    Posted at 18:18h, 28 September

    […] Do Your Homework is a blog by @headguruteacher, which asks us to act on evidence from educational research. In this blog, Tom shares his presentation and four contrasting forms of research. Tom also offers his first assembly at his new school, Highbury Grove in North London. Is There a Moral Imperative to Commit to Your Education? […]