We were delighted to welcome sixth form students from The Leigh Academy in Dartford for a taster day at CCCU in July. We were inspired by their engagement, confidence and commitment to their learning as they grappled with the reality of policy decisions in the real world. The students chose compromise over conflict – an approach we think our current politicians could learn from!
In this blog, Aaliyah Otubanjio, Global Politics student at The Leigh Academy, reflects on the vibrant and interactive discussion that took place – and the debates that are still ongoing…
At 8am on the 7th of July 2022, a coach full of The Leigh Academy’s budding historians and potential Prime Ministers set out on our journey to Canterbury Christ Church University. After an hour of sleepy students and vibrant teenage chit-chat, we had arrived! Greeted by a welcoming team of experts and student ambassadors, we were ready and willing to experience as much as the day had to offer us.
We started out with a seminar by Michelle Crowther, Learning and Research Librarian. It was jam-packed with information about the array of resources at our fingertips. From the plentiful – yet occasionally unreliable – advantages of the digital age to the tried, trusted and bound literary formats; we were exposed to it all. Not only that, but we were shown the tricks of the trade too. Things like, how to extract the value from sites like Wikipedia, the importance of a research log, how sites like JSTOR can be our most reliable friend and how to navigate library and learning support at CCCU. Now armed with this knowledge, we set out on the rest of our mission.
At this point, our budding historians bid us farewell to extract some nutritious information from the university’s historical experts while my fellow politicians and I, headed on to the Augustine House Library. There, we were met with a team of librarians eager to help us find the books to give us answers to the political questions we had each developed for our coursework. We were shown how to use keywords to tailor our search to find works specific to our political engagements, as well as how to then locate and use the super-advanced moving shelving system. We were then left to bask in the success of our new skills by going through our new finds, recording them and making notes. Following this, we were further rewarded with time to explore our fresh and enticing surroundings for a short while.
We completed our day with a Politics taster session, led by Dr Susan Kenyon. In the session, we were supported by Dr Dele Babalola and a team of friendly CCCU Politics students in our exploration of the dilemma of what to do, when policies conflict. We delved into what to do when we must increase transport, to solve transport-related social exclusion, while also trying to limit the negative environmental impacts of an increase in transport. Split into groups, we were given characters, which we had to learn and present their standpoint against the other groups. We were challenged to choose: should we go all-out and fight to achieve all our objectives, at the expense of others – a high-risk but potentially very rewarding strategy? Or should we compromise, reducing conflict and guaranteeing that we gain at least some of our objectives?
This led to a very vibrant and interactive discussion which, although a conclusion wasn’t reached, sparked a lot of unique and interesting ideas. We all decided to compromise – a choice that surprised our teacher, Mr Bradley!
With that bright end to our day, we boarded our coach, heads swarming with new ideas, which led to inevitable heated debates on our journey back to Dartford.
Thank you, Aaliyah – we hope to welcome The Leigh Academy back soon!