Understanding promotes empathy – Year 6 Exhibition

Posted 4 December 2020 12:41pm

Every year, as the culminating experience of the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme, the Year 6 students carry out an extended, collaborative inquiry known as The Exhibition.

For the past seven weeks, students have been independently responsible for their learning and actions as they have inquired into local issues with global significance. Falling under the theme ‘Where We Are in Place and Time’, their inquiries are all, in some way, linked to the concept of freedom.

From the freedom that powerful Australian women have fought for and translated into positive actions for their communities, to the freedom - or lack thereof - implicit in different systems of government, our conceptual focus seems particularly salient during this unconventional school year.

The session started with an opening performance that introduced the audience to the concepts of freedom, with an aim to encourage deeper intellectual contemplation of and engagement with this concept. After this performance, our school community spent time visiting each student to learn about their independent inquiries while engaging with their creative product. These products are designed to provoke emotion and promote action in relation to their chosen area.

Catherine Diedricks (6B) chose to explore the concept of academic freedom, specifically, the wrongful imprisonment of Australian-British academic, Kylie Moore-Gilbert. Kylie was imprisoned in Iran under a charge of espionage in September 2018. Incredibly, Kylie’s release was announced on the very same day of Exhibition.

“I am over the moon that Kylie has been released, and honestly, it was great timing for me! And while I did a petition and it probably didn’t help her release, I still put into perspective that these things happen around the world. Even young people, like Kylie, are being put into brutal jails,” Catherine said.

Catherine’s creative product called for participants to ‘find their freedom’. It consisted of a number of signs hanging in a rectangle, most of them displaying words like suppression, captivity, censorship and dictatorship, with only two labelled freedom. Participants were blindfolded and asked to select five signs, and finding freedom would earn them a reward.

When she considers the 10 IB learner attributes, Catherine mostly sees herself, and her Exhibition product, as principled. Acting with integrity and honesty, with a strong sense of fairness, justice and respect for the dignity of the individual, groups and communities.

“With my creative product, I wanted to make sure that I didn’t make (younger people) scared…I just want them to understand how others live their everyday life.”

And what did Catherine love most about Exhibition?

“Working with everybody…we gave each other new ideas and just supported each other through the whole Exhibition journey.”

We are extremely proud of the hard work and dedication all students have shown throughout this student-directed process.

Thank you to Tara Bourne, Year 6 Teacher, for her contribution to this article.

Photo above:Year 6 students during their opening performance of Exhibition.

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