A new subject has appeared on every girl’s timetable from Year 7 to Year 11 at Portsmouth High School.
The subject is called ‘Sophia’ and focuses on five different thinking skills that need to be integral in lessons and in homework: enquiring, evaluating, creative thinking, information processing and reasoning.
‘Sophia is Greek for ‘wisdom’ and we are encouraging the girls to become critical thinkers which in the long-term makes them more employable,’ said John Paget-Tomlinson, Portsmouth High School’s Director of Studies. ‘If you want to improve your thinking skills then you need to give your brain a regular workout.’
‘We have identified that by enhancing the girls’ thinking skills and encouraging them to be able to think ‘out of the box’ they will be better equipped to deal with GCSE and A levels and higher education and employment,’ he continued.
Year 7s started the year by looking at themselves and how they relate to other people, moving on to moral dilemmas. This term they have been asked the question‘ if you went back in time, what would shock you about your ancestors?’
Lucy Rukin, 11, said: ‘The lessons take place in the morning and it is such a good time to wake up your brain. There are no right or wrong answers. You can have your say, whatever the outcome.’
Issy George, 12, added; ‘It makes you think about things you wouldn’t normally think about.’ ‘Some things we talk about are quite hard,’ said Imogen Wheeler, 12. ‘But the morality lessons have taught us to try and do what’s right rather than going along with the crowd.’
‘It slowly develops the way you think,’ added Jia Feng, 11. ‘Listening to riddles and dilemmas and trying to work out the answers is really exciting and interesting.’
‘Being independent and recognising links between areas of the curriculum is a huge asset which many of our pupils have already but we want to enhance those skills. We want the girls to focus on independent thought and give them analytical, philosophical, ethical and political skills which encourage them to think beyond the classroom,’ concluded Mr Paget-Tomlinson.