By Clare Jarmy, Head of PRE and Head of Academic Enrichment and Oxbridge
On Saturday, two 6.1s, Taran Llewelyn Bradford and Thea Sesti, took part in a pilot scheme to bring ‘QI Thinking’ into education. Bedales is hosting this pilot, and is working with six other independent schools. The hope is to develop an approach that can be rolled out into classrooms in both the independent and maintained sectors, building inquisitiveness.
QI stands for ‘Quite Interesting’. You might have seen it on TV (this clip on ‘what is the roundest thing in the universe?’ is quite representative, if you haven’t seen it), but actually, its creator, John Lloyd has a much broader, and idealistic aim for QI than that. QI is not only about TV, but also books, podcasts, talks to industry leaders. In short, QI is not a show, but an approach to thinking and learning.
Parents might remember that we hosted John Lloyd ‘in conversation with…’ Harry Enfield in aid of the John Badley Foundation. There is clear overlap between QI’s focus on inquisitiveness, and Bedales’ first aim to ‘To develop inquisitive thinkers with a love of learning who cherish independent thought’. Because of this, Headmaster Keith Budge, in his role convening the HMC conference this year, worked with John to formulate a scheme for ‘QI boot-camps’, designed to reinvigorate curriculum with interesting, fascinating facts, rather than dull, obvious material.
John Lloyd argues that ‘nothing is boring if you spend enough time looking into it’. On Saturday, this was modelled for us. John, and two of the ‘elves’ Anna Ptaszynski and James Harkin, demonstrated, pretty conclusively that there is something fascinating, even about a topic as seemingly dull as fire-escapes!
In the afternoon, we spent our time in our wonderful library, with both online and paper resources (books, periodicals and newspapers) at our disposal. Students had to seek out anything fascinating relating to a ‘Q’ word (the elves are currently compiling material for the ‘Q’ series of QI). Look out for these facts we discovered!
- Did you know that Tyrannosaurus Rex actually had feathers?
- Did you know that when The Prophet Muhammad’s (pbuh) followers were exiled from Mecca, they used to pray facing Jerusalem?
- Did you know that there is a disease that humans can get from eating a quail that has eaten a poison, even though we would not get ill from directly consuming the poison?
Taran and Thea will now be working as ambassadors for this approach in the school. Look out for prompts for QI thinking in the next few weeks!