Emotions Exercise for Year 8

Stilling and Death:
A positive approach to death
and the legacy of life

General Points:

Death is scary to many pupils and so as a corrective this approach suggests that after someone has died they still have an impact in the world. This would take place in school for preparation and conclusion and in a church or church grounds which had plaques, statues, tombs and/ or a graveyard.

(a) Visit preparation
Introduce an historical figure. In a major community church (cathedral, minster, principal parish church) this involves choosing an historical figure, doing some background research (from books, Internet), and the children responding to a guiding worksheet. The pupils also compose in pairs two sentence messages/ statements to be read in the church. The focus is on his or her life and impact.
(b) The visit
Chairs are arranged around the statue/ tomb/ grave with a guided meditation. This is voluntary and so other children are elsewhere with another teacher or assistant.
The meditation starts with a statement of the history of the person, and continues with students reading out their lines, one each. A small bell introduces each two sentence statement which is followed by half a minute's silence so that these can be contemplated within the meditation. At the end is a couple of minutes to consider the life then and impact now. Afterwards students collect more evidence from the church directly about the figure or the ambience of the church.
(c) School
Using their statements, worksheet and extra information, and the experience of the meditation, students either write about their visit (easy) or about themselves meeting the man or woman (harder, more interesting). Group work discusses the impact today for plenary summary.

Possible case example

Leonard Chamberlain

(a) Worksheet would show he was a wealthy Hull Puritan who believed in a strict moral code and was one of those who actively campaigned and intervened against people busying themselves on Sundays, such as fishing (during the Puritan years). People should be in church and at rest. He campaigned for liberty of worship, not accepting the Book of Comon Prayer. At the same time he was philanthropic towards the people of Sutton, Stoneferry, Cottingham and Bridlington. Some Puritans fled to a new life (during the Restoration) but he did not. He was often imprisoned. His burial place is at Little Weighton church well outside the Hull boundaries. As regards present impact, There is a Leonard Chamberlain Trust. This funds old peoples' accommodation in Sutton (recently flats-like accommodation was replaced by bungalows), payments to the poor, payments to education and (renewed) support for religious ministry. Chamberlain Road and Chamberlain Street (the site of old peoples' accommodation) are named after him. Religiously his Trust is connected with the ex-trinitiarian and once strict Presbyterian but now liberal Unitarian church, although buried (as had to be) in an Anglican church. He was a founding trustee of the Presbyterian church. He fought for liberty of worship, not liberalism.
(b) Trip to Little Weighton church where in meditation the church the statement would be read and pupils read their short statements. They would contemplate a man who we might find historically strange but still with an impact on Hull.
(c) Work from students would be about the visit, about life in Puritan Hull or Restoration Hull. They might imagine the rise of wealthy traders and yet saving their money. They might write perhaps from the perspective of someone who liked maypole dancing and fishing and lost their pleasures, or perhaps Chamberlain's life in and out of prison when he fought for liberty. Students would show that, although not a well known figure, his, legacy lives on, and for some people a kind of life continues after death, and that everyone is remembered in some way by someone. They may also understand that religious development is often not how founders intend.


Adrian Worsfold