For one day only pupils and teachers at Winton Community Academy in Andover left their pens at home.
They were taking part in ‘No Pens Day Wednesday’ an annual event run by the Communication Trust. The aim of the day is to encourage schools to put down their pens and communicate by running a day of speaking and listening events. For children and young people, good communication skills are essential for learning and making friends, impacting widely across their development.
Every lesson throughout the day was aimed at developing the pupil’s communication skills and encouraging collaboration.
From maths to religious studies the pupils didn’t pick up their pens once.
“It was weird not using a pen,” said 16 year old Paris Whitehorn. “A couple of times I went to get my pen out of my bag before I remembered. My favourite was the maths lesson where we were learning about vector graphs. We all got up and danced to show the graph going from one place to another. Everyone was dancing and it really helped get the information into my head.”
Fifteen year old Riley Lucas enjoyed every lesson on the day. “Each lesson was unique and each teacher had to come up with a different idea. It was quite challenging to learn in a different way. I thought it went really well and it helped me remember a lot of information.”
Rather than reading from their book, Jackyll and Hyde, year 10 students, acted out the individual parts. Fifteen year old Yasmin Schesselman agreed that it bought the book to life. “By playing different characters it really makes you think of what each character is going through and it will help me when I come to write my essay. It felt like a new way of learning.”
This is the fourth No Pens Day Wednesday and last year over 2,500 schools took part.
“No Pens day was a great way to develop our student’s communication skills,” said Principal Nathan Thomas. “And every teacher had to think about different ways to engage with their students in the classroom. Good communication skills are very important not just for learning, but building friendships and success at work. There is also a strong correlation between student’s communication and their behaviour in school. Often students who find communication difficult also struggle with their behaviour.
“Good communication is at the core of what we do at home, in school and in work. This day was designed to make students and staff think about the importance of good communication to support good learning.
It was a fantastic day with lots of engaging and interesting learning taking place across the curriculum. To see students learning through stop frame animation in science, dance in maths and the Jeremy Kyle show in English was a real delight.”
Photo caption, Jasmin Peters, Kaidee Fairchild and Chloe Harris in a science lesson during No Pens Day Wednesday