Is Knowledge power?

Assemblies are a vital part of the school community. It is a time when the school comes together, sings together and then reflects quietly on what has been said.

Assemblies at BGS are our equivalent of Radio 4’s Thought for the Day. A time to think, a time to consider and, hopefully throughout the day, a time to reflect.

Assemblies are not easy to deliver. Trying to find an idea, a thought or a theme that will keep the whole school absorbed is challenging.

Once a fortnight we ask our Girls’ Leadership Group (GLG) to lead assembly. They are extremely good and the whole school looks forward to them. Last week’s assembly was no exception.

Their theme was knowledge. They argued that the amount of knowledge you have is not necessarily a measure of intelligence. Thinking you know everything is dangerous because it stops you asking questions. They reminded us of the Socratic Method where asking questions is as important as finding the answers. In asking questions, we are challenging our pre-existing ideas, thereby constantly adapting and learning. Having the courage to question helps us grow.

Equally, they argued making mistakes is important. Learning is enriched through error. When we make a mistake, we are challenged to do things differently which motivates us to try out new approaches. Often the most successful people are those who have failed over and over again in their lifetime.

Thomas Edison, inventor extraordinaire, said: “I am not discouraged because every wrong attempt is another step forward.”

Once you can accept that it is fine, indeed a good thing, to encounter problems, explore half right guesses and experience disasters on the road to success, you are indeed liberated.

The GLG reminded us of this, however most importantly reminded us that education is not just about examination results but an understanding of people, their ideas, cultures and life experiences.

Reinforcing this message, Kofi Aman said: “Knowledge is power. Information is liberating. Education is the premise of progress, in every society, in every family.”

The GLG ended the Assembly with a quote from Enid Blyton’s Mallory Towers: “I do not count as our successes those who have won scholarships and passed exams, though these are good things to do. I count as our successes those who learn to be good hearted and kind, sensible and trustworthy, good, sound women the world can lean on.”

The Girls’ Leadership Group make me proud. They will become women who make a difference to other people’s lives, they will be women the world can lean on.

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