Lessons from Lockdown | Portsmouth High School

Lessons from Lockdown

English teacher Mrs Wood looks at ‘Lessons from Lockdown’ with her Year 7 class online.

This week, all Key Stage 3 English classes will begin working on a Speaking and Listening task that will culminate in pupils’ planning, drafting, writing, and delivering short speeches to their teachers and peers on a given topic.

We revisit this unit of work each year as it helps the girls to hone their public speaking skills, develop their confidence in talking to an audience and prepare for the oral component of the English Language IGCSE in Year 11.

This year, the topic assigned to Year 7 pupils is, ‘Lessons from Lockdown’. This year has been a year like no other for our Year 7 cohort. Not only have they had to acclimatise to the transition from primary to secondary school, but they have had to do this in the wake of a global pandemic and the under the confines of a national lockdown – no mean feat.

Of course, PHS girls are known for their resilience and their ability to find the silver lining in any adverse situation, so I invited my class to do just that. In planning their speeches, I encouraged them to consider the opportunities that lockdown has presented them with, that they wouldn’t have had otherwise. I also asked them to think about any new experiences or skills they had mastered during lockdown and whether, in the wake of another 6 weeks of restrictions, they planned to set themselves any new challenges. Finally, we talked about the things that lockdown had made them most appreciate. We talked of adventures in running, surfing, paddle boarding, exploring, coding, gaming, gymnastics, painting and crafting, to name but a few. We joked about the perils of amateur haircuts, juggling, animal training and baking and set ourselves some new goals. We gave thanks for our families, friends, pets and all those who have worked tirelessly to help us through this crisis.

We finished by looking positively towards the future and what life might look like, post-COVID, returning, as we did, to our collective ‘lessons from lockdown’. It was a heart-warmingly positive, collaborative and uplifting hour and I am very much looking forward to helping the girls shape their feelings and ideas and listening to them share their experiences.