Monday, July 1, 2013

The "David Rhodes" Exercise: Some sample responses

The exercise created by David Rhodes has inspired some former students to write what you see below. We hope that you will be moved to find the SPEECH and send us your thoughts.

THE EXERCISE created by David Rhodes

Imagine you had never heard of or knew John Corlette.  Imagine, also, that your memories of your student days have been wiped out, except for the barest details like the Swiss village Chesières, the O/A level exams, camping in the mountains, etc.  Let's assume, then, that you have no EMOTIONAL recollection of the educational value of your time in Chesières, whether it was a rewarding time in your life or not - all those things which loyal alumni feel so strongly when they reminisce.  
What's the point of this exercise?  Well, you have in your possession a copy of John Corlette's 1973 graduation address in which he sets out the goals of his educational philosophy.  It's the longest document produced by JC and it can give us insight into what he was trying to do in setting up his school.  You are not allowed to rely on your memories of the man himself because they have been erased.  You read this document with a detached, analytical eye.  You are looking for those educational insights that strike you as deeply valuable and relevant to today's young people, in particular for your own children, godchildren or friends' children.  Try to keep your sentiments and feelings out of it. 
You are allowed to choose only two insights from this document that strike you as the most important for today's world.  Step 1: Re-draft them in your own words, in a way that makes them sound less archaic and more in line with today's jargon.  Step 2: Explain your reasons for your choice of these two insights.
You are now allowed to re-connect with your emotions about the school.  They come flooding back, as if you're recovering from a bout of emotional amnesia.  Read again your choice of the two most important principles and the way you re-stated them in modern terms.  Are you still happy with your choice, in light of your vivid emotional memories?  And finally, ask yourself whether your feelings about the value of your education and your choice of the two most important JC principles are the feelings of (a) the young person you were when you were sent away to a Swiss boarding school, or (b) the feelings of the older, more mature person you have now become, or both.  When you you done all this and you're completely happy with your response, please send it to and David Rhodes 



We hope that you will be moved to find the SPEECH and send us your thoughts.

You can find the speech on this blog...

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