Successful ‘No Pens Day Wednesday’ at Tanbridge House

Y8 - Moses the Musical in Faith Philosophy and Thinking SUS-141021-094348001
Y8 - Moses the Musical in Faith Philosophy and Thinking SUS-141021-094348001

On Wednesday October 15, Tanbridge House School, along with 2500 schools across the country, took part in an exciting initiative called ‘No Pens Day Wednesday’.

On the day, all learning took place through speaking and listening activities – no pens or writing were allowed!

The aim of the day was to see a positive impact on all pupils by enabling speaking and listening to be used as a vehicle for learning across the curriculum.

Throughout the day, students were presented with a wide range of opportunities to develop their communication skills across all their subjects; these included students dressing up for a classification catwalk in Science, acting out Moses the Musical in Faith Philosophy and Thinking, translating and then attempting dance routines in Modern Foreign Languages, making graphs out of spaghetti in Maths, recreating the Bayeux Tapestry through collage in History and painting with their hands rather than brushes in Art.

Miss Powell, Whole School Communication Co-ordinator, who organised the event with help from Mr Baker (LRC Manager) and Miss Booker (English Teacher), said: “As teachers, this type of activity helps us to re-evaluate our practice and look at teaching and learning through fresh eyes; early feedback suggests our students really enjoyed and benefited from the emphasis on verbal communication and listening skills and it was lovely to see students using the space inside and outside the school building in such a creative and thought provoking way, in spite of the rain!”

Year 11 English students said: “I’ll remember this section of The Tempest in the exam more than any other because I’ve had to think about it even more fully and have had to remember the ideas from our discussion.

“This has made me share more of my ideas, that I would usually write as annotations and keep to myself.”

Feedback from year 7 students: “We enjoyed extended discussion of alternative endings to a story without ‘worrying’ about having to write everything down.”

‘No Pens Day Wednesday’ was a flagship event of the ‘Hello’ campaign in 2011 (National Year of Communication), which encouraged schools to put down their pens and to run a day of speaking and listening activities. Since then, The Communication Trust has run the initiative every year and thousands of schools have already got involved! Ofsted are increasingly highlighting the importance of speaking and listening for good teaching and attainment and as a common denominator in the most successful schools.

Report and pictures contributed by Tanbridge House School.