College Students Attend Gifted and Talented Conference

May 19, 2014 at 3:08 PM

It was a unique opportunity for our academically gifted senior students when they attended the Julie Arliss Gifted and Talented Conference at St Cuthbert’s College last week.  Described as a ‘thinking day’, the Australasian touring conference engaged the students with a wide range of topics and a balanced academic programme, aimed at stimulating thought beyond the constraints of the curriculum.

One of the questions posed to the students was ‘Can Statues Move?’ Speaker Julie Arliss then described the many different ways of approaching this question. Firstly, what is a statue?  She explained that there are not only the stereotypical marble statues; but the list is endless ranging from ice statues to wood statues. She said that although we have the knowledge, we have been trained to think ‘inside’ the box.

With Julie’s help, the students tore down the walls of this box and looked at the question regarding the movement of statues in more depth. Yes, they might not literally move, but there are many ways in which they do. The particles in statues are constantly moving, we can physically move the statue ourselves and, therefore, the statue is in motion, for example, acid rain can break the statue down. The students learnt there are many different ways of looking at things and if we take a step back and look at a question from a different viewpoint, our answer will be very different.

Feedback from the students was that they found themselves thrown deep into the expansive and dynamic world of philosophy. With no previous experience or prior knowledge in this area, the students’ eyes were quickly opened to a whole new level of thinking. They discovered that, in a broad sense, philosophy is an activity people undertake when they seek to understand fundamental truths about themselves, the world in which they live, and their relationships to the world and to each other.

Year 11 student, Emily Peart said, ‘The conference was unlike anything I have ever experienced previously. I was overwhelmed by the complexity and depth of the philosophical ideas and concepts presented. I departed feeling that I had gained a whole new perspective on the issues discussed and that my way of thinking had been challenged.’  

With thanks to Year 11 students, Emily Peart and Haswell Brooke

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