At the British International School Abu Dhabi, we have developed a co-curricular program ‘Project Minerva’ as a way to celebrate and champion our Gifted and Talented individuals across the Secondary School. Project Minerva was designed for and is delivered to gifted and talented students on a weekly rotation, at lunch times or after school. It provides secondary students with the opportunity to develop their analysis, reflection, and deeper critical thinking skills beyond the classroom.
Project Minerva began at the start of this academic year (2021/22) and has been planned around six main pathways: politics, power and justice, art, creativity and the imagination, science technology and the environment, health, ethics and the mind, culture, identity & community, and sport, success and leadership. Each week students attend a talk/seminar style meeting where special guests and visitors deliver engaging presentations and provide thought-provoking discussion points for the students, encouraging students to collaborate and talk to new peers as well as learn more about topics that interest them. So far students have heard from a variety of different speakers on how Identity is impacted by the Globalised World around us, Ancient Philosophy & Plato’s Dialogues; and have Investigated the formation of Human Rights, just to name a few. Students also have access to the resources from Project Minerva sessions via a designated web page, as well as also having access to materials and educational websites where they can further their knowledge on a particular area that they have developed a passion for.
The program has helped our older students prepare for Oxbridge and Russel Group interviews by exposing them to complex issues and dialogues and building their confidence in articulating their thoughts and opinions in this sphere. Our younger students have shown brilliant engagement and participation in Project Minerva and have formed strong bonds with the older students they have been engaged in discussions with. We are looking forward to the potential to grow this project with our younger Primary students and get a wider exposure to speakers from outside of the school.
Written by Vicky Juett & Emily Budd, BIS Abu Dhabi teachers