On Monday 7 October, our Year 9 pupils were involved in an exciting learning experience. They had a specially arranged timetable where they took part in a “cultural awareness day” with a focus on Islam. The day consisted of six workshops and two assemblies. We had the pleasure of welcoming Razwan Ul-Haq, who is a traditional Arabic Calligrapher and ex-head teacher and he led some of the sessions alongside the staff at Workington Academy. Razwan is a highly-regarded artist whose previous collaborations have included the Tour De France organisation and Bradford’s iconic Manningham Mill. Our students undoubtedly gained an invaluable insight into this aspect of modern life in the UK.
The beginning of the day consisted of an assembly ran by Razwan on the 5 Pillars of Islam and an introduction to Islamic Art. Before lunch, there was a second assembly on the issue of Islamophobia which has been developed in collaboration with the RE Today team. Students were given the opportunity to have a Q and A with Razwan and asked very insightful questions.
Students then began to carousel around different workshops.
The workshops for the day were:
An art session with Razwan – these sessions involved using traditional bamboo pens and ink to create some intricate designs and have a go at calligraphy.
An art session with the Art Department – looked at the work of Rasheed Araeen where students recreated some of his grid paintings which have a fantastic colour scheme. The work conducted and painted links to student’s research skills and sampling that have been developed in previous years and will help prepare them for the GCSE art course.
A Design Technology session – students built 0 to infinity cubes that are all about coming together to support each other and build on our differences. This work develops motor skills, helps develop design, construction and display skills. Our students have developed these skills in Year 7 and 8, and this activity was an opportunity to consolidate and apply their learning.
An English session – students looked at different creation stories for a range of faiths and identified the common themes and ideas. In terms of cross-curricular links, this builds on students’ appreciation of others’ viewpoints and perspectives which will be covered in the summer term of Year 9.
A history session – students looked at the different advances in medicine and the progress that had been made in Islamic medicine in comparison to the Western World. These ideas are studied further in the GCSE History course as part of a wider study of developments in medicine throughout the ages.
A science session – students looked at the biology of “fasting”, in particular how the body can be affected and the self-discipline that fasting involves. The session will build on Year 8 prior learning involving nutrition and links with the “Homeostasis” topic in GCSE Science.
The day was thoroughly enjoyable with something for every student in Year 9 at Workington Academy.