There was nothing but silence echoing through SO308 during first period on Monday the 23rd of July, as 9 Newman History learned about the power of words and speech… by not speaking for an entire lesson! It was difficult for some as we kickstarted the new unit ‘Changing Rights and Freedoms’. We were certainly tested as the entire lesson was run in silence, with Mrs Smit using only cue cards from the start of the lesson to guide our learning.
Mrs Smit used the cue cards to explain that words are such a powerful force available to humanity because they can be used constructively or destructively, and have the ability to help, heal, hinder and humble.
What does this have to do with history you ask? That was the exact same question crossing the minds of many in the room. Mrs Smit answered the question through looking at the ways political leaders have been able to lead revolutions through the use of words. Ironically, without any speech, Mrs Smit explained how speeches have been powerful enough to cause change in the rights and freedoms of peoples around the world. She used examples from History, including Barack Obama’s ‘Don’t Tell Me Words Don’t Matter’ and Dr Martin Luther King Jr.’s renowned speech, ‘I Have A Dream’ — the foundation for the activity that day.
Before we headed outdoors to participate in a very eye-opening experience, Mrs Smit handed us two treats each and mentioned that we may or may not end up eating these as determined by the next activity. We made our way to Yallunga and were presented with an excerpt of ‘I Have A Dream’ We were then required to write about our own dreams and share them with one another (keeping in mind, this is all in complete silence!). We were then all invited to offer one of our treats to the “dream” we found most compelling. I came across so many intriguing and insightful pieces, it was a difficult final decision to say the least.
Finally, we returned to our cozy classroom and reflected on the power of words through reflective writing. I have never appreciated them more!
Jade Lozanovski (Year 9)