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Roald Dahl Day

20 September 2016

Roald Dahl (13 September 1916 – 23 November 1990) was a British novelist, short story writer, poet, screenwriter and fighter pilot. 

Dahl's short stories are known for their unexpected endings and his children's books for their unusual humour! His works for children include James and the Giant Peach, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda, The Witches, Fantastic Mr Fox, The BFG, George's Marvellous Medicine, and The Twits.

September is Roald Dahl's birth month, and each year we celebrate with lots of wonderful events centred around his birthday on 13th September. 2016 is the 11th annual Roald Dahl Day and celebrates 100 years since the birth of Roald Dahl. This year we included many special events to mark the centenary of his birth including dressing up as one of the characters in Dahl’s books or wearing yellow, which was his favourite colour.

The children participated in stimulating activities all day Roald Dahl. In English, a wide variety of his stories and poems were explored. The pupils then completed character descriptions, invented their own characters for a book and wrote revolting rhymes.

Challenging Roald Dahl word problems were investigated in Maths and collages using the front covers of Roald Dahl books were created. Lower Prep has displayed a lot of their amazing work in the corridors.

The Roald Dahl Day at Wellington College International Shanghai has promoted English and reading through fun learning. Research suggests that fun is not just beneficial to learning but, by many reports, required for authentic learning and long-term memory.

Neurologist and educator Judy Willis’s book “Research-Based Strategies to Ignite Student Learning: Insights from a Neurologist and Classroom Teacher” (ASCD, 2006) is one of many that have highlighted the learning benefits of fun. Here are just a few excerpts:

The truth is that when the joy and comfort are scrubbed from the classroom and replaced with homogeneity, and when spontaneity is replaced with conformity, students’ brains are distanced from effective information processing and long-term memory storage.

The highest-level executive thinking, making connections, and “aha” moments are more likely to occur in an atmosphere of “exuberant discovery,” where students of all ages retain that enthusiasm of embracing each day with the joy of learning.

At Wellington, we believe that taking an educational risk is worth doing and that it is okay to get things wrong. A problem with rights and wrongs is that, for some people, the pressure of being correct gets in the way of experiencing what actually is happening. Instead, we believe pupils should be learning from their mistakes and working collaboratively and creatively to acquire new knowledge and surprises. There is no reason children cannot have intellectual fun, cannot be excited by ideas, and cannot be challenged to acquire new knowledge and Roald Dahl Day helped facilitate just that. It truly was a marvellous day!