Academic study in schools has increasingly been reduced to utility – knowledge and training in skills for personal success and material prosperity. At Downside we consciously resist this utilitarian approach and the intention of Tessera is to celebrate intellectual exploration and discovery for their own sake. The implication of the title (a tessera is a mosaic tile) is that each piece of work stands as a separate entity, but makes a vital and unique contribution to the overall picture. It is an eclectic and exciting collection of work. This reflects our principles as a Benedictine school. We uphold and advocate the value of each individual so that he or she can flourish and thereby contribute most fully to building a harmonious and purposeful community.
Each of the essays contained in this first edition of Tessera extends to us an invitation to think afresh and open our minds. We think St. Benedict would approve. In his Rule he urges us to commit to becoming searchers for the truth, through adopting an attitude of ‘openness to growth and change’. St Benedict insisted that ‘all the community should be summoned for consultation because it often happens that the Lord makes the best course clear to one of the younger members’. It is humbling to read work of such depth and quality produced by our pupils and a poignant reminder that we should recognise how ambiguous the dividing line is between who is teaching and who is learning.
Click here to read one of the Tessera essays, written by Head Girl, Georgia Bolton.
Click here if you would like to request a printed copy of the Tessera.
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