28 October 2019

On Friday 18th October, the last Friday before half-term break, the first Boumphrey Lecture of this academic year took place. Years 5 and 6 pupils were treated to an inspiring and thought-provoking lecture from Miss Julie Yardley entitled ‘Chimps and Icebergs’.  The talk was focused on how we can lead healthier, happier and more successful lives by having greater emotional intelligence.


Miss Yardley began her lecture by using the movie “Inside Out” as an example to showcase the many emotions that live inside our brains and how they influence every action that we make.

Miss Yardley proceeded to enlighten the packed assembly hall with the differences between academic intelligence (IQ) and emotional intelligence (EQ). She explained that IQ is a very well-known term and is very important; however, she stated that EQ often gets overlooked and is crucial to how we manage our lives.  Miss Yardley went into more detail, explaining that emotional intelligence includes skills such as: reading people and being able to respond appropriately; communication skills; managing relationships and dealing with problems and conflict.  Miss Yardley explained that the more emotional intelligence that a person possesses the better they are able to cope with stress and anxiety.

Miss Yardley explained that emotions can get the better of everyone regardless of how prepared or well-trained they may be. Even sports stars such as the England national football team, Steven Gerrard, Ronnie O’Sullivan, Chris Hoye and Victoria Pendleton - all of whom are very talented and very successful sports people - have experienced difficulty controlling their emotions which resulted in failure at crucial times in their careers.

Miss Yardley cited Professor Steve Peters' books “My Hidden Chimp” and “The Chimp Paradox”, detailing how everyone has a “chimp” in their brain which at the wrong moment can introduce doubt into a person’s mind, causing them to second guess themselves, which results in negative outcomes. 

Miss Yardley explained that we must train ourselves to “cage our hidden chimp” and that we should use the logical part of our brain and not let the emotional part take over in potentially stressful situations. 

Miss Yardley posed this situation to the pupils to reinforce her view:

“What would you do if someone skipped you in the queue at lunch? What might you feel? Annoyed, angry? What might you do? Get physical?”. Miss Yardley encouraged the audience to “Stop! Silence your “chimp” and say, “Okay, I have choices. What is the most sensible choice for me?'” Miss Yardley asked the audience, “What choices would you have?” Immediately a flurry of hands shot up. One at a time the pupils responded, saying:

 “Tell a teacher”, “Think before you speak,” “Don’t react, because it’s not really a big thing”, “If you do react, a teacher will tell you off and you will get in trouble.”

Miss Yardley congratulated the pupils for their fantastic answers and agreed they were all good suggestions.

Miss Yardley asked the audience, “Who here has trouble sleeping?” Again a number of hands went up, with a few pupils saying they used to think monsters lived at that the bottom of their beds. Miss Yardley explained that the logical part of our brain may not be engaging properly and that it is our “chimp” which is over-thinking in our brain.  She advised the pupils who had trouble sleeping to say out loud, “Be quiet Chimp!”, and to listen to their voice of reason.

Miss Yardley concluded the lecture by explaining that our behaviour drives our outcome; we need to be self-aware. She encouraged the audience to label their emotions and to explain to themselves why they might be feeling a certain way, rather than acting instantaneously on the negative emotion.  She recommended reflecting on your emotions before making decisions, and to think about your words and actions and how they may affect others. Miss Yardley stated that to become good at emotional control you need to practise. Miss Yardley encouraged the pupils to practise controlling their emotions in their everyday lives; the more they practised, the more likely they would be to form good habits.

Prep Open Morning

Date: Friday 8th November
Time : 9.15am - 11.15am

We invite families who are looking at primary school options to join us to see the School in action and to find out more about the opportunities available from Reception to Year 6.

Personalised visits are available throughout the year for families wishing to look at the School's pre-school and nursery settings.


Admissions Contact Information

Prep Admissions
Mrs Askew & Mrs Farlam
PA to the Head of Prep
Email: prepadmissions@birkenheadschool.co.uk  
0151 652 4114