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Sevenoaks School addresses improving diversity in schools to support student flourishing

Fifth edition of teaching and learning journal shares studies into best teaching practices.

Teachers from Sevenoaks School and educators from renowned educational institutes release findings from classroom-based studies of new teaching practices in the latest edition of academic journal, Innovate. Collectively, the articles explore the concept of flourishing and how best to promote an integrated, holistic approach to education in a diverse environment.

Published by Sevenoaks School’s Institute of Teaching and Learning, Innovate V also covers advice and guidelines for changing the way teachers observe and appraise lessons and insight into how to measure flourishing. Authors include:

  • Clare Ives, Deputy Head at Sevenoaks School, who examines how to embrace the three different strands of diversity with five steps. She discusses the value of a diverse school environment and how it equips students with a global outlook that will help them find fulfilling roles in our rapidly changing modern society
  • Charley Openshaw, Head of Art at Sevenoaks School, who has designed a sculpture trail across campus to encourage students to connect with the outdoors through creativity
  • Parsa Fouladi, a Year 12 student at Sevenoaks School who describes using rap music to teach English to Ukrainian refugees.

The fifth edition of Innovate was launched on Friday 13 October at the Flourishing in Schools conference. Hosted by Sevenoaks School in collaboration with the Harvard University Human Flourishing Programme and Research Schools International, the event welcomed more than 200 educational professionals and comprised two days of presentations and interactive workshops. Innovate invites attendees to continue their conversations and reflect on opportunities to enhance their own teaching practice. It is also available as a free download to all educators who want to review and use within their own continuing professional development (CPD).

This year’s journal features evidence-based studies that explore new classroom practices such as:

  • Promoting diversity and environmental sustainability
  • Developing caring students and reflective critical thinking
  • Discovering best methods of knowledge retrieval
  • Creating a sculpture trail
  • Encouraging students to read fiction
  • Building a resilient mindset.

Jesse Elzinga, Headmaster at Sevenoaks School says: “We are delighted to launch the fifth edition of Innovate at our first international conference linked to our work with the Harvard Human Flourishing Programme. The journal is designed to reflect an ever-growing narrative at Sevenoaks School, which engages actively with evidence and research to develop practice and policy driven by what is known to work in teaching and learning. The conference embodies this ethos and provides a great platform for education professionals to exchange ideas and best practice in person, while the journal provides an inspirational resource that can be accessed at any time.”

Mark Beverley, Director of the Institute of Teaching and Learning at Sevenoaks School, comments: “The notion of an integrated, holistic approach to education is woven through the articles that feature in this year’s Innovate. With it, we aim to bring into focus elements of research-informed classroom practice that are shown to be effective and a holistic approach to education in which personal and emotional development is as prominent as aspects traditionally referred to as cognitive or academic.

"Innovate and our October conference, Supporting Flourishing in Schools, concentrate on practical, school-based approaches that help students lead more fulfilling lives. For us, sharing our findings on new teaching and learning practices is as fundamental to our research as the research itself. Communicating with our global educational community helps us to support more teachers and students and understand the success of experimental practices when applied in different schools and countries. It’s all part of learning to teach better.”

Innovate V is available online