In June we held our inaugural Harrow Free Thinking week. This was been a chance for all our students to focus on a project around Identity for the week, exploring their own cultural and broader identity and how this engages with who they are as individuals.
Each workshop our students have participated in the week focused on developing a skill, such as criticality, problem solving or visual design. In turn, the theme of identity emerged from discussions our staff have had at school this year around our identity as a school, and how as Harrow Shanghai we reflect both our values and context as a Harrow School, and also the community and cultural context in which we find ourselves.
As our Deputy Head Simon Probert explained at the start of the week, we can’t understand where we’re going, if we don’t understand where we’ve come from.
We had a range of activities during the week for students to encourage them to reflect on their identity. In the Upper School students in Science considered how genetics affects identity, Maths looked at the notion of Fibonacci sequences and mathematical beauty, Humanities at the cultural identities of people from across the world, and in English they designed their Super Heroes.
In Pre-Prep our students were also busy thinking about identity – at the centre of this was a reflection on the culture, food, language and geography of the countries they are from. They also thought about how they engaged with Harrow Shanghai, and our core values. Equally, Year One went on a trip to Shanghai Museum to think about the past of the city was live in and how it engages with the present.
School is a place where we develop our identity in a range of ways, through lessons, through house activities, through friendships. During the week, our year 10 students worked on a Media project considering what it means to be a student at Harrow Shanghai. They were working with the Media team all week, interviewing students, taking photos and film, and developing their own skill sets around the use of digital technology.
There was also an Arts stream. In Pre-Prep our music department worked with a small group of musicians on a project around identity, and in Upper School our teachers and worked with some students on putting together a puppet show using traditional Chinese music and art. Having watched a professional traditional Chinese puppet company perform, they made their own puppets, music and script and put on a performance to all the Upper School students.
We also reflected upon what it means to have a sense of home, and the travels our students will make across the world in their summer holidays. Overall, the week was a chance for all of the students to reflect upon our identity, values, where they have come from and who they hope to become in the future. It was a positive, creative and dynamic way to end the school year, and energized our students as they prepare to move up to the next year group.