Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Day 10: Has the Educational World Gone Mad? #28daysofwriting

pic from article on Linkedin, blatantly borrowed - sorry ran out of time to make my own -feel free to borrow one of mine :( 

It's 'snow' good at school! 

I am a little bit gobsmacked.

Last night I read a link posted by a fellow Blogger about how a school in the UK had stopped pupils from looking out the window at snow as it fell and had made sure students were not allowed to touch it.

I confess,  I found the actions of the school to be quite petty and puritan.  I appreciate that the news report may have stirred up the story to sell a few extra papers, but the school itself is quoted as having closed the blinds so that students could better concentrate on 'the task at hand'.

The task at hand?  Wow.

I think the reason the article has riled me is because it is yet another example of a school making a decision that seems anti everything I believe in (I have posted about the school that banned their production because it ate into learning time, here, and I thought then that this school had gone mad).

You see, I think the school has missed a fabulous learning opportunity.  A chance for students to explore, experience and create.  An authentic, contextual, seize the moment kind of opportunity.

When I was a teacher down south, if we were ever lucky enough to be in class when the heavens opened up and snow fell, then there was no containing the excitement!  Even a small skiff would mean downing tools and racing outside for an adventure.  There is no end to what you can do in that situation.

Maths - count the snowflakes, draw a perimeter and re count, tessellation's
Science - categorise and experiment with snow (how fast does a cup of snow melt?)
English - write stories of your adventures and create, create, create
Art - draw and make snowflakes, collage snowmen, make them with cotton wool
PE - have a snowball fight (we only did this if you were ever lucky to actually have enough for that, and if you got in before the school was closed!!)
Experience - taste snow, feel snow, get wet (and growled at by the parents later...not so pleasant but worth their wrath when you saw the light in the children's eyes)

And I could go on... this is me 'planning' under the rules of #28daysofwriting.

How cruel is it to keep children from doing what it is that they are inherently designed to do - EXPLORE and PLAY!

I really do worry about if our educational word is going mad.  Teaching these days is hard enough without some administrator or teacher going on a power trip and forgetting about what the golden rule of teaching is.  Student engagement is everything.  No 'task at hand' will ever be completed to its highest 'academic' standard if student engagement is lacking.  None.  You may as well be spitting in the wind.

If you want real, contextual and authentic learning and you ignore that which is right in front of you (and even more importantly, an experience that is FREE) then, yes, you have most definitely gone mad, because snow is the best engagement tool that could ever land in your lap!

Here is the link to the original madness that spawned this post:

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