I really can’t believe that I’ve neglected to blog for so long! I even forgot my username and password for the blog which is unforgivable. The reason is fairly simple – work has been completely insane!
Since moving into the new classroom in September I’ve completely had to rethink the way in which I’ve taught the curriculum. Literally we started again from scratch and tried to follow a model of 21st Century learning. This has been a huge upheaval and has forced me to reconsider exactly what has been going on in the classroom and my own beliefs and values.
To properly embrace the ideas of Collaboration, Communication and Creation has meant that in many ways I’ve had to let go of my long held practices and move from being a “giver of knowledge” to a facilitator. This is a scary process as you are always thinking -what happens if the children don’t learn anything? I’ll be the one to blame!
Fortunately I’ve got a fantastic head teacher who gave me the professional trust to try and experiment and take calculated risks.
When the process first started it was chaos. I’d expected the children to innately have cooperative skills and be able to put them to use in a group dynamic. I could not have been more wrong! The first month of the project was basically teaching the children how to listen to each other and teaching them the skills of teamworking ie. Scribe, timekeeper, chairperson etc
After several attempts they finally realised that if they didn’t contribute the group would not succeed. Eventually they realised that this type of learning would not go away and it was far more fun to achieve something that was complete and worthwhile than to fail to finish another project.
Once we had crossed this hurdle the quality of the work that the children achieved really started to take off. This was because the children had real ownership of the work. At one point in February visitors to the school occupied me for an hour in the classroom while the children got on with some instructions about how to male a track using Dance- ejay.
I have to say I wasn’t expecting it to be up to much, however when I looked at it afterwards it was some of the best work they’d done all year.
So what have I learnt?
- Children need to be completely immersed in a creative curriculum project to have the desired results.
- It takes a huge amount of time for children to develop self motivation and collaborative skills, but its worth the effort.
- Quality breeds quality. Once children get the taste of success they want move.
- Ask the children about their learning and what skills they think they are learning – its very insightful.
- Children can teach each other just as well as you can! Training small ‘expert groups is well worth a small time input.
All in all its been an amazing six months that I’ll always remember and treasure. I can’t recommend highly enough this creative approach – go for it.
“If I know but don’t do, then I don’t really know!”