This week, EPR lessons have focussed on tackling fascinating questions about human experiences and matters of faith; there have been lively discussions and lots of creative and critical thinking skills being developed.
In the unit of Good and Evil, Year 9 have been discussing big questions surrounding the nature of crime, attitudes towards punishment and what prison conditions should be like. They have explored the practice of restorative justice and the benefit it can bring for both victims and criminals. Powerful case studies from The Forgiveness Project have helped ignite discussion considering whether all things are forgivable and how forgiveness has brought healing for some people. Students listened to the experiences of Margaret Foxley, the mother of former student Jessica Foxley, who was the victim of a robbery at her home when a laptop was stolen. Sadly, Jessica passed away in a car accident after the burglary had occurred; it was at this point that the laptop acquired a new significance and Margaret’s perspective on the crime changed. She decided that meeting with the perpetrator of the crime would be a helpful way to address her suffering and enable her to receive answers to her questions. Students reflected on the emotional journey that Margaret went on, and the incredible strength that she demonstrated, in her personal pursuit of justice.
In Year 7 and 8 lessons, students have been exploring beliefs and teachings within the dharmic religious traditions. Year 7 have been learning about the Buddhist concept of Anicca (impermanence) and identifying its presence in the natural world, with a particular focus on the positive and negative changes that the pandemic has had on the environment. The First Precept to ‘Refrain from harming living things’, and beliefs in compassion (karuna) and loving-kindness (metta), have also been considered in relation to the significance of trees within Buddhism. This has been linked to the tradition, in some countries, to ordain trees and students have been set an imaginative and creative homework: to ordain their own tree at home.
Year 8 are exploring how the multi-sensory experience of puja (worship) within Hinduism enables followers to connect and understand the nature of Brahman, the Ultimate Reality. The beautiful shrines, rhythmic rituals and poetic stories of the deities, have filled the students with intrigue and fascination.