Modern Languages Society
Finding an effective way to develop the Modern Languages Society online was not very easy, but the results have been worthwhile. What better way to delve into a culture than by watching a Netflix series in the language the culture is conducted in? Using the Netflix Party extension, the boys and I have been watching a series about France and its reaction to the Paris attack of 2015, and, while watching, we are able to converse in the language and share our thoughts on the story, history and culture: everything our society strives to emanate. What has been most surprising and, potentially, most rewarding, is the number of younger boys in the school who have joined and taken an interest in the society, embedding early on the importance and value of modern languages.
As we continue, and potentially return to school, I hope to grow the society even further: to encourage more boys to attend; to employ more native speakers (including outside speakers as well as boys who have a specific cultural background) who can speak from an unmediated perspective about their culture; to involve boys in quizzes and workshops about the cinema and arts of different cultures too. I also hope that eventually we can join forces with the girls’ school, to attract an even wider audience. In doing so, I hope to encourage further and elicit the recognition of languages’ predominance and influence over all facets of modern society.
The Economics and Business Society
As much as lockdown restrictions have hindered the activities of everyday school life, they have also provided a unique opportunity for pupils to engage in extracurricular activities in new, reimagined ways, and the Economics and Business Society has been no different.
With over 160 new members from the boys’ school alone, the society has exposed pupils to the wider economic and business world though talks online each week by visiting speakers on a range of topics including health economics, the significance of the digital revolution, navigating careers during a global pandemic and migration in the modern world.
Our first week saw a talk by Shirom Aggarwal on one of the most unprecedented events in economic history; the 2020 crash of US crude oil prices to sub-zero, in a period where oil producers were paying buyers to take the world’s most important commodity off their hands. This was followed by talks from a host of Old Edwardians, including Rohit Kale, Ashkaan Golestani, Pratinav Sinha, Andy Street, Wrik Ghosh, Tushar Roy, Keshav Singh and Thomas Claughton.
Most notably, perhaps, was the talk and Q&A by Old Edwardian and Mayor of the West Midlands, Andy Street, who talked to an online audience of over 80 pupils about his amazing work as Mayor, as well as his former roles as the managing director of John Lewis & Partners and the chair of the Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP. He discussed a number of challenging but important topics from the effectiveness of government in tackling the pandemic to LGBTQ, homelessness and racial equality in the West Midlands.
It was a thoroughly informative, insightful and inspiring talk, and his enthusiasm towards all of the questions and towards the pupils here at KES and KEHS really made it a pleasure to be a part of.
The society has built up momentum that we hope to carry through to next term, as we continue to attract crowds from all interests of the school by bringing in bright minds from across different sectors to foster learning, inspiration and provoke conversations that matter.