Summer ProgramIndicative Program


2020 Summer Program

Sunday 19 January 2020

Program offering

*Academic extension: learn how to read and think at a university level

*Immersion into critical thought

* Build on debate, communication and presentation skills

*Introduction to the kind of thinking a future degree in western  civilisation might offer

Educational approach

Students will be immersed in sessions using the Socratic method, named after the Classical Greek philosopher Socrates.

The Socratic method is a teaching approach that encourages students to engage in cooperative and critical conversations. Through argumentative dialogue, students scrutinize the underlying suppositions of their positions and those of their peers, to evaluate their relationship with other beliefs and those of the book or topic under discussion and arrive at a clearer picture of the truth.

The Foundation for Critical Thinking declares the Socratic method is “still the most powerful teaching tactic for fostering critical thinking

Time  Activity
13.30 Bus pick up SCTC
15.30~16.30 Check-in/Registration & afternoon tea
16.30~17.30 Welcome and introduction

Title – What is the west?

Prof Haines will discuss western civilisation and the achievements that have shaped our society – our laws, our values, our arts and our institutions.

It has a civilisation with distinctive features and inheritances (although some of these derive from its closest neighbours)….”


“….Homer and Dante, Shakespeare and Goethe, Jane Austen and Joan of Arc, Plato and NATO, Beethoven and Bartok, Leonardo and Picasso, the Parthenon and the Pantheon, Napoleon and Julius Caesar, Botticelli’s Venus and the Mona Lisa, the Roman empire and Christianity, the Enlightenment and its revolutionary American, French, industrial and scientific heirs, democracy and human rights.

An Education Manifesto for Western Civ

Prof Simon Haines

The Western cultural tradition, it’s not perfect, no tradition is, but essentially it’s made us who we are, it’s where we came from.”

The Hon John Howard PM AC

Speaker – Prof Simon Haines, CEO, The Ramsay Centre for Western Civilisation

17.30~18.30 Icebreaker activity

The students will participate in some fun and informal activities to help them get to know each other and feel more comfortable in engaging in the sessions over the coming days.

18.30~20.00 Dinner
20.00 Reading text
Monday 20 January 2020
Time Activity
7.30~8.30 Breakfast
8.30~8.45 Introduction to the program

Prof Simon Haines, CEO, The Ramsay Centre for Western Civilisation

8.45~10.30 Opening conversation – Plato, The Apology 

Prof Simon Haines, CEO, The Ramsay Centre

Dr Stephen McInerney, Executive Officer (Academic), The Ramsay Centre

Dr Jeremy Bell, Campion College

University of Notre Dame representative

Our esteemed panel will introduce The Apology during a “fishbowl”* conversation.  The students will then break into small groups (5-8 each) to engage in a moderated discussion with their peers.  There will be one tutor allocated to each group.

Participants will be asked to:

  • participate in the dialogue
  • engage in respectful listening and debating
  • support comments with examples where possible
  • be curious

The difficulty, my friends, is not in avoiding death but in avoiding unrighteousness, for that runs faster than death.

Socrates in Plato’s Apology

the unexamined life is not worth living

-Socrates in Plato’s Apology

One thing only I know, and that is that I know nothing

Socrates in Plato’s Apology

10.30~11.00 Morning tea
11.00~13.00 Initiative Matrix

This is an activity that involves individuals thinking outside the square as well as working together as a team to solve the big question…..”What is the Matrix?”

Working under the pressure of time, teams of students compete to solve cryptic clues which lead them to life size problem solving tasks at different locations around the conference centre.  A team facilitator will be at each location to brief the group on the problem at hand.  Each of the tasks involves the group working as a collective unit drawing upon both mental and physical abilities aiming to unravel the problem. Upon successful completion of each activity the group is awarded with a piece of “The Matrix”. The team will use these pieces to reveal the final challenge which is a small debriefing activity.


13.00~14.00 Lunch
14.00~15.30 Community of Inquiry

Students will be divided into small groups (5-8 in each) and provided with a philosophical question that they must discuss/debate using the Socratic method.  This introductory session will be broken into to two stages focusing on two different questions.  Each group will be assigned a tutor who will encourage the students to acknowledge contradictions, recreate inaccurate or unfinished ideas and critically determine necessary thought.

Dr Britta Jensen, President, Philosophy in Schools Association

Prof Sandra Lynch, University of Notre Dame

Dr Jeremy Bell, Campion College

University of Notre Dame representative

15.30~16.00 Afternoon tea
16.00~1700 Community of Inquiry (cont)

The third part of the Community of Inquiry will pose a greater challenge to the students where they will be required to further embrace the skills practiced before afternoon tea.

17.00~19.00 Free time
19.00~21.30 Picnic dinner
21.30 Reading text
Tuesday 21 January 2020
Time Activity
7.30~8.30 Breakfast
8.30~8.45 Review of previous day
8.45~10.30 Opening conversation- The Tempest

This session will again begin with the “fishbowl”* conversation and be followed by small group discussions.

Prof Simon Haines, CEO, The Ramsay Centre

Dr Stephen McInerney, Executive Officer (Academic), The Ramsay Centre

Dr Laurel Moffatt

Dr Colin Dray, Campion College

A selection of passages from The Tempest  will be discussed.

10.30~11.00 Morning tea
11.00~13.00 The Tempest  performance or workshop – Bell Shakespeare

A blended approach workshop and performance which will guide students through the play, characters and themes, and then dive deep into rich language analysis, thematic discussion and performance/redirection of key scenes.  It will be a mostly active, on-your-feet session, with some sit-down sections.  This will include rich discussion of the relevance and enduring legacy of Shakespeare and The Tempest.

13.00~14.00 Lunch
14.00~14.45 Meet the board

Students will have the unique opportunity to engage with political and business leaders and talented academics.

The Ramsay Centre board representatives will share stories of their own journeys to success and their vision for the planned BA in Western Civilisation.

They will speak of the importance of the study of the humanities and the benefits acquired.

Students will be encouraged to participate in a Q&A session with the members of the Ramsay Centre board to have their specific queries answered.

14.45~15.30 Transferable skills for business



15.30~16.00 Afternoon tea
16.00~17.00 Re-cap of the two days and group discussion

Prof Simon Haines, CEO, The Ramsay Centre

Dr Stephen McInerney, Executive Officer (Academic), The Ramsay Centre

17.00 Close
17.15 Bus departs
  • Fishbowl conversation – the panel will be seated at the front of the room discussing the topic.  The audience outside the “fishbowl” listen in on the conversation.
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Don’t be intimidated by what you don’t know. That can be your greatest strength and ensure that you do things differently from everyone else."
- Sara Blakely