Year 9 English empathy

Year 9 English has had a major focus on the power of empathy this year. Students learnt to consider perspectives they wouldn’t ordinarily regard. This is what Calani Payton 9M had to say about one of the incursions:

“Recently, the Year 9 cohort was given the opportunity to hear a Jewish woman recount her story of the infamous holocaust of WW2. The incursion lasted all day, four different main sessions were held, one being of that incredibly moving and detailed story, which was followed by a discussion that brought to light our own opinions and deeper thoughts of the experiences we’d heard. One session was with Mrs Briggs, she enhanced the more emotional side of the story we had heard, she told stories of the brutal murders of WW2 through the eyes of a mother. As a large group, the mood was sombre and thoughtful as our empathy was invoked for the only faceless number of dead. Mr Maguire held a debate over the book we had been analysing that term, throughout all the groups, the debate was heated, driven by a new passion for the topic after all we had learned. 

For weeks afterwards, many of my fellow students would mention something that had really stuck with them from the incursion, whether it be the gratitude they felt for their safety, the sadness they experienced or the new determination that had inspired them. On a more serious note, some students who would absent-mindedly curse using the term ‘Jew’ or ‘ghetto’ were brought back to reality with the incursion, from my view, many people seemed to realise the truth of WW2 with just one compelling story. In every sense the incursion was enriching, interesting and an excellent way to end that unit of learning. Thank you to the lovely people who came to share with us and the school for organising the event!” 

This is what other students had to say when asked, “What did you take out of this incursion?”

Being grateful for what I have and not having to go through any of their experiences.
That we are very lucky and have very good lives compared to some people.
That everyone has their own special story.
It was very informative and engaging, I really enjoyed it.
The best part was with Ms Briggs.
A better understanding of personal experiences throughout the Holocaust.
That some people helped out the Jews.
I’ve now heard from a primary source about the holocaust.
Don’t take the life I’m given for granted, because these people telling their stories have been through much more than me.
Seeing the holocaust survivor brings the reality of history to us, it’s one thing to be told statistics and facts, but another to hear straight from the sources. The whole day played on our human nature and how we reacted to different things, it was very insightful.

Primrose Kombanie