Twenty of QE’s youngest boys teamed up with pupils from a leading independent girls’ school to explore the environmental crisis and learn how to persuade others to take action.
The QE contingent headed to North London Collegiate School for the Year 7 academic symposium, starting the day with a critical examination of social media posts representing different viewpoints and highlighting different scientific data on the atmosphere.
Together with the NLCS girls, they then explored the power of persuasion, studying the speeches of Swedish activist Greta Thunberg, before enthusiastically taking up the opportunity to write and practise their own speeches.
Enrichment tutor and Chemistry teacher Xiangming Xu said: “It was an amazing display of collaboration and environmental responsibility, in which the aim was to educate young students about the environmental crisis and empower them with knowledge about their role as students.
“Thus, they not only expanded their knowledge on environmental issues, but also developed essential skills such as teamwork, quick thinking, and persuasive communication techniques. Overall, the symposium served as an inspiring platform for students to learn, develop, and take action.”
The start of the day was marked by discussions about the selected social media posts, with the boys and girls supporting or challenging the various arguments being propounded.
Next, they looked at the impact of different techniques employed in speeches, including the influential contributions made by Thunberg, who customarily challenges world leaders to take immediate action over climate change.
Later, in the afternoon session, they had the opportunity to apply these techniques and to deliver their own speeches targeted at specific audiences, including business professionals, politicians, primary school children, and teachers.
Afterwards, three of the QE participants gave their reflections on the day:
- Arnav Ghoshal: “We learnt about the environment – which is a major factor in today’s world – while doing engaging and fun activities, making it a great time. Also, as QE is an all-boys school, it is good to mix with other genders, too.”
- Aaron Khan: “The activity I enjoyed most was when we worked together as a group to create an ‘elevator pitch’ for our chosen audience. This trip helped build confidence and my communication skills with others whom I may not be so familiar with.”
- Thomas Leung said he enjoyed delivering a speech aimed at changing politicians’ minds, since politicians can have a significant impact. “They have enough money and power to change something. I felt more confident at the end as I knew more about the environment and learnt new facts.”