Acclaimed authors write new “chapter” in education for Prague-based international school

Park Lane International School’s annual “Chapters Day” connects students with top talent for a day devoted to hot topics and great books.

Diana Bocco

Written by Diana Bocco Published on 31.03.2022 17:04:00 (updated on 19.01.2023) Reading time: 3 minutes

Hands-on learning and engagement in education are more important than ever before. School trips, special projects, and unique events are an integral part of the curriculum at Park Lane, an international school with campuses throughout Prague, and are seen as essential to the development of the students. 

Among those special projects is the school’s annual Chapters Day, an all-day school event for students aged 11-17 that takes place every spring. On this day, normal teaching is completely interrupted and students have the chance to attend various one-hour workshops devoted to exploring a central theme in a myriad of ways.

Another aspect of the project is a school-wide silent reading session. For a full hour, teachers, students, administrators, and staff settle down with a good book and become fully immersed in the world of literature, transforming the whole school into a reading room.

“Curiosity is at the heart of learning and at the heart of Chapters Day, our yearly event that celebrates reading and learning beyond the curriculum,” says James Goodman, Subject Leader and teacher of English and English Literature at Park Lane.

Chapters Day helps instill students with the school’s fundamental belief that learning is a lifelong, independent endeavor by removing traditional boundaries between subjects, giving pupils, educators, and guest speakers the opportunity to collaborate via “chapters,” sessions that explore a central theme.

“These sessions go off-piste and touch on concepts, knowledge, and skills that students might not encounter in their usual lessons,” says Goodman. “The program is offered to students as a menu from which they can create their day based on what sparks their curiosity.”

The workshops, presented by special guests (writers, experts, illustrators) as well as teachers and students, can take many forms. In past years, various “chapters” have included the role of face tattoos in New Zealand’s traditional storytelling, a Skype call with a school in Malaysia, and book-to-film sessions.

Guest speakers have included literature professor Bonita Rhoads, Czech author Petra Hůlová, and Pavel Rožek, better known for writing a book about his rescued dog Gump.

Year after year, Park Lane students continue to give favorable reviews of the experience. One student who participated in Hůlová’s “chapter” gleaned some important advice about writing. 

“Ms. Hůlová’s told us ‘You must have fun while writing because if you are bored, the reader will also be bored,’ which is a valuable tip for anyone who is interested in writing.”

While the majority of the workshops are focused on literature (poetry, creative writing, author readings), central themes accompany learners on a variety of thematic journeys. For example, in 2020, the topic of “Bridges” dealt with everything from bridging languages (students learned to read Korean), wormholes, and myths and legends.

Chapters Day 2021 was organized around the topic of “Fact or Fiction? Misinformation, Disinformation and the Search for Truth,” a particularly pertinent topic during a year when the world experienced a dramatic rise in the appearance and spread of inaccurate or entirely false information.

To help bring the concept of disinformation to life, teachers put together topical activities – from exploring the anti-vax movement to busting dieting myths to looking at how the dissemination of viral false news can damage a brand. The school welcomed guest speaker Matt Boden from Moody's Analytics, social scientist and author Benjamin Curtis, and Jonothan Ledgard, novelist and long-time journalist for The Economist.

This particular event gave students the critical skills and tools needed to find trustworthy information to build an accurate picture of the world. Overall, Park Lane’s annual “Chapters Day” highlight the importance of creating one’s own personal learning journey.

For those curious about the school’s vision and curriculum, Park Lane teaches a National Curriculum of England to students from nursery to university entrance. The school will host an Open Day on Tuesday, April 5, 2022. Visitors will have an opportunity to tour the school, sit in on lessons and see the education in action.

Staff members will also be available to answer any questions potential students and their families may have. Personal tours of the EYFS, Primary or Secondary campus can be arranged by calling or emailing the school registrar.

This article was written in cooperation with the Park Lane International School. Read more about our sponsored content policy here.

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