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Posted: 07.10.19

Dialogue Symposium inspired by Brexit debate

Lower Sixth pupils visited Gordonstoun School in Moray, Scotland to attend a dialogue symposium inspired by communication used during the Brexit process.

The pupils were joined by Head of English Janet Hope and, over the course of three days, learnt the principles of dialogue alongside seven schools from across the UK from both the private and state sector.

The symposium was the first held by Gordonstoun School who has been running a Dialogue society for the past 5 years and wanted to involve a wide range of schools in the principles of the society. Inspiration for the with came from the Brexit process and the ongoing debates surrounding the subject, and aimed to give pupils the skills to explore opposing views constructively.

Peter Price, who attended the event with fellow pupil Amelie Gauger said: “The Dialogue Symposium was a completely new experience for me personally: exploring the ways we could discuss difficult ideas collaboratively was a real learning experience.

“The most memorable part for me was the immersion into Scottish culture, especially taking part in Scottish Reels and a trip to the beach on the Moray Firth. Everyone was so friendly, and it was great to meet and talk with pupils from different backgrounds, ideas and experiences.”

The three-day event was organised by Gordonstoun teacher Mr James Smith who has a masters degree in peace and conflict and was part of the UN peacekeeping mission to Haiti. The event focussed on teaching attendees that dialogue places emphasis on active listening as a means of constructive discussion, as opposed to the combative nature of debating.

When discussing the symposium Head of English, Janet Hope, said: “With our current political and public dialogue being in a state of stalemate and confrontation the symposium was a thoroughly inspiring few days and we were grateful to Mr James Smith for organising it and the Faith and Belief Forum who run a number of fantastic workshops for both staff and teachers.

“It was really rewarding for our pupils to receive such a great opportunity and for them to be able to take away what they’ve learnt. These are skills they can continue to implement throughout their lives and that we hope will positively influence their future careers and relationships and how they communicate and interact with others.”

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