School brings in Aristotle as an antidote to ‘superficiality’


School brings in Aristotle as an antidote to ‘superficiality’

Life lessons courtesy of the Ancient Greek philosopher are being used to counter the obsession with social media

Camilla Turner

As concerns grow about the mental health of young people, teachers have been turning to class-time meditation and yoga.
But one London school is turning back the clock even further by introducing the teachings of Aristotle in an attempt to boost pupil wellbeing.
Colfe’s School, a £17,600-a-year (R323,000) boarding school in Greenwich, has introduced a course in “Eudaimonia”, often translated as human flourishing or happiness. The course explores the importance of “virtuous behaviour” and examines how the “good life” can be achieved.
Pupils learn mindfulness, spirituality, sex and relationships, but through the lens of the Ancient Greek philosopher.
Emerald Henderson, the school’s head of philosophy, said the lessons provide a powerful antidote to the obsession with social media and “superficiality”.
“This is a wellbeing initiative with intellectual integrity and pastoral appeal. Rather than simply focusing on pursuit of their own happiness, the Eudaimonia programme sees personal flourishing as a by-product of living a morally good life.”
The lessons apply to pupils of all ages at the school.
Brighton College, a £40,000-a-year co-educational boarding school, has previously held meditation sessions, with teachers being supplied with “emergency” meditation kits if “boisterous” situations arise.
A study by Nuffield Health in 2018 suggested that wellbeing should be in the curriculum alongside English and maths. It followed a pilot scheme in which a teacher at a secondary school in Oxfordshire was assigned to talk about mental health and wellbeing. The results suggested the traditional role of the matron in British schools could be filled by “Heads of Wellness”.The UK’s department for education is to further explore the teaching of mindfulness and relaxation. The government hopes the two-year project will reveal which mental health practices might benefit students in schools.– © Telegraph Media Group Limited (2019)

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