Training Day

3rd October 2015

Our Training day in October 2015 focussed on the 4 Elements of Education

The day was led by Ben Walden a founder and Artistic Director of Contender Charlie.

His work with staff and students has received major acclaim at education conferences around the world. He has given main keynote addresses for groups such as the ICP Convention in Australia, the ESF Principals in Hong Kong, ESSARP schools in Buenos Aires, the Latin America Headteachers Conference and the 3 International Baccalaureate conferences for Europe, Asia and the Americas, as well as the IB World student Conference. He has also been a regular speaker at the New Heads Conference for the National College of School Leadership in the UK.

The day focussed on how, as educationalists and leaders, we can engage as many students as possible and develop their own natural skills and strengths?

“This training highlighted the 4 key elements of a balanced learning system for our children and asked the question “are we fully employing these potentials in our own teaching and leadership practice?”. If any one of them is neglected or sacrificed in support of another, the student’s entire perspective on their learning can be damaged. This can result in dissatisfaction with schooling and a cynicism and indifference which can erode their ability to flourish even in their preferred arena. At worst their emotional and even physical wellbeing can begin to suffer as they receive consistently reinforcing messages that they are “troubled” or “failing” students. Even those who flourish under the current measuring system for student achievement may have major skills that are being neglected due to an overly myopic perspective of how our students are best educated.”

An education needs to serve multiple intelligences and it is vital to foster all these intelligences if a child is to be well served in their learning.

Yet, ironically, this concept is far from new. Ancient Greek and Renaissance culture both fostered the idea of “The Four Great Elements” of Earth, Water, Air and Fire, that made up the balanced and flourishing individual.

 We looked at this concept in a modern context and took part in exercises and role play exercises that would develop our own potential in all four of these key areas, enabling us to better support the development of them in our students.

Participant’s comments:

“The day gave an insight into how a different approach to learning could be beneficial”

“Great to have key messages about body language and expectation, embedded into thoughtful and humorous, but also insightful stories!”


“Great to think about teaching, learning and children from a different perspective”

“The training day was our second chance to work together as a group. It was inspirational with an amazing keynote speaker who gave real food for thought”

“Inspirational, motivational and relaxing”

“Inspiring event that reminded us to think of the whole child again!”

“It was thoughtful and gave an opportunity to reflect on key aspects of school practice”