In Harmony …with emJoy

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Joseph G Banks, JD –  30/07/2019

In Harmony …with emJoy

I have attended and made presentations on cross-cultural education in many countries, but rarely have encountered a theme embracing joy in education. As teachers we all recall seeing that smile on a student’s face when s/he understands a new concept; and, more rarely, when they want to go to school and really enjoy learning!  The October emJoy conference in Athens hopes to kindle that feeling of joy in education! 

Share your experiences, return to your classroom enthused by ideas that have instilled joy within educational experiences in schools throughout Europe, and spark joy in your teaching!  Meet interesting educators from across Europe and see how joy in learning can be introduced into every subject. 

Last year I presented information on risk management and EU data protection regulations at the sister FIEdu conference in Ploiesti, Romania. This was very useful, but hardly joyful; however, when discussing these issues/applications at Hawthorn Primary School in Newcastle upon Tyne, England, I mentioned the In Harmony music program at our school. I am a Hawthorn Governor  and was Vice Chair when we decided to apply for selection as one of four primary schools in the nation. I can’t think of any other endeavour in my educational career that has generated greater pride! That discussion prompted my invitation to speak in Athens and I hope to share how we engender pride and  joy through music education at Hawthorn. 

In a time of austerity and undue emphasis on test results in many schools, music has introduced incredible success, pride and joy within our students, their parents and the local community [one of the poorest economic  catchment areas in the UK]. We know from experience that students exhibit different kinds of intelligence and that success in one field can spark success in other academic disciplines. Our school’s students have been the subject of much research, several BBC national TV programs, visits from internationally acclaimed musicians and political leaders from the UK & Norway, enjoyed opportunities to meet fellow student musicians from Venezuela and UK cities, and perform with local / national orchestras. 

In year one, EVERY student at Hawthorn decides what instrument s/he wants to play and receives that instrument for use through year six. Members of the Royal Northern Sinfonia provide individual / group instruction four days per week [plus voluntary after school and summer sessions]; and children identified as having potential as professional musicians join other talented children from across the region for additional free professional instruction on Sundays at the Sage Gatehead music centre. Furthermore, the children and their parents receive tickets and bus transportation to several classical concerts each year. 

Please join me in Athens at the emJoy Conference, 12-13 October 2019.




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