Sunday, 29 September 2013


Higher Order Thinking in Art

This term our whole school undertook an inquiry study around the provocative question, ‘Nature is our Greatest Teacher’. The boys became engrossed in the many sub questions and discussions with all classes completing their own age and stage studies.

The study culminated in a three day (from 11am to 2.30pm) visual arts celebration where the boys in cross age electives chose their medium for expression and then set out to show their thinking via the art form they had chosen.  Over and above the teaching staff we were able to engage a few parents and other guest facilitators who helped ensure the size of the groups were ideal for this endeavour.

I can’t overestimate the value of this time. The quality of the art was outstanding but more importantly, the quality of the boys’ discussions and thinking was heart-warming to watch and hear. Our artist in residence was ‘blown away’ by the boys’ questions, curiosity and their ability to engage in meaningful dialogue.

After the work was hung for the exhibition it was a joy to watch the boys view the range of art on display and take a deep interest in others’ work. Our school visitors such as grandparents and friends were delighted with what they saw and went away happy in the knowledge their grandchildren were in a school that appreciated higher order thinking and had high expectations around personal bests.

Wellesley is truly a ‘home for the mind’. Art Costa who developed the ‘Habits of the Mind’ used this expression (home for the mind). It captures so much of what we stand for as we strive to engage our boys in this quest of being curious and willing to engage in ‘hard fun’ no matter whether it is art, maths or any other curriculum area. This approach to education is now part and parcel of the culture of Wellesley. The boys’ academic outcomes are the ‘proof of the pudding’ but more importantly it is a joy to see these young boys go off to secondary school and beyond to achieve their potential in whatever fields they choose and in a position to positively contribute to society.

What more could we ask for!