Sun 02 Dec 2018 3 min read

#3 A best for the world curriculum

Kai Vacher

One of my favorite films of all time is Interstellar. I just watched it again on the flight back from a short break to London. If you are not familiar with this stunning piece of cinema, Cooper, a space pilot, has been forced to be a farmer in a world that is so badly polluted with dust storms that it can only support human life for a few more years. The fight for human survival on Earth is effectively over.

The only hope for humanity is to start human civilization again on another planet. Planets that can support human civilization, even with advanced space travel, are out of our reach. However, with his daughter’s help, Cooper and his small team manage to use the power of a wormhole to eventually save the human race and start life again in different locations across the universe.

Will these survivors of the human race treat their newly found worlds with any more care and respect than they did planet Earth? Or will this crisis scenario be repeated again and again until the universe shows no more mercy?

Christopher Nolan’s film combines his dazzling creativity and a simplified interpretation of complex space science to offer a visual cinematic masterpiece. His film also raises challenging questions about love, life and the nature of our existence on Earth. For me the most compelling question is this:

“Are we really going to continue to treat our planet so badly that at some point none of us will be able to live here anymore?”

The record-breaking weather of last year’s summer was a stark reminder that our planet is indeed warming up. Are we well on the road to the apocalyptic scenario that Nolan paints in Interstellar? For example, Quriyat, Oman, one hour’s drive from British School Muscat, experienced the hottest temperature ever recorded on Earth in a 24 hour period in June 2018. Meanwhile cities from Delhi to Singapore to Beijing continue to experience hazardous air quality levels, particularly in the winter months. Every year I interview teachers who, initially lured by the high salaries and cultural adventure on offer in Chinese international schools are, within months of arriving in China, desperately seeking to escape to somewhere like Oman with much better air quality.

To tackle complex environmental problems such as climate change and air pollution, our students clearly need to learn and understand Mathematics, Biology, Physics, Chemistry and Computing.

But how might our students solve these complex environmental problems? With creativity, flexible thinking and ingenuity – maybe learned through Dance, Design and Technology, Drama or Music?

And how will our students, as future global citizens, explain complex problems to millions of people and persuade them to act differently? With great stories, works of art, films and music learned through Art and Design, English, Film and Media and History?

And, perhaps most importantly how will they find peaceful, diplomatic solutions? Through teamwork, collaboration, empathy and negotiation learned through PE, Geography, Languages Business Studies and Psychology?

Last week we held our Celebration Assembly; applauding another year of record breaking success in our student’s GCSE results. We celebrated our students’ achievements in Art and Design, Dance, Design and Technology, Drama, English, Geography, History, Languages, Music, Physical Education, Psychology and Science. I am proud that at BSM we value and celebrate the values, attitudes and attributes of our BSM Learning Ethos developed through the aforementioned subjects and also on the sports field, in the sports halls and the swimming pools, on the stage, in the mountains, the desert and the wadis and in the community.

More than ever before we need ensure that our students experience a broad and balanced curriculum both inside and outside the classroom; a curriculum and an experience where all subjects are equally valued. Our continued survival on this planet depends on it.