What an adventure this was! I had the privilege of going to an EduTech conference in Brisbane last year. The main message that I got was use technology for a purpose. One of the guest speakers by Sugata Mitra. He spoke and shared information about SOLE, student led learning. Being one to start with something small from a conference, I picked this. I read information on his website, which I highly recommend to anyone.
Then I started modifying this process with younger kids. One thing about PD is you take away elements and adapt it for your kids and their needs. I was lucky enough to have a teaching partner who was also willing to have a go. It was exciting to try something new. The students that we worked with were six and seven years old.
We did support them at the with a big question. We then broke that big question into open-ended smaller questions. The big question was "How can I grow a sustainable herb garden?". Having smaller questions meant that the younger kids could break the task into smaller steps. E.g.: How do I plant and grow a herb? And off the kids went. I was surprised at how deeply engaged they were over the day. Behavioural issues were non-existent because kids were so into what they were doing. Any issues that did arise were centered around the collaborative skills of kids that age.
One thing that I am proud of is the things that kids didn't like. Some of them spoke of how challenging it was when a teacher didn't tell them the answer straight away. The was a good indication that they learnt from the task because many discussed his they loved being able to direct their own learning. The reflective questions that I used were:
1. What are you the most proud of?
2. What did you love the most?
3. What did you find challenging?
4. Next time we could....
5. Even better if
Children discussed how they loved working in a team, having a choice, sharing their learning as well as choosing where to start and what direction to take things. The most interesting aspect was the even better if responses. The juniors would have liked to have a list of a few good websites and videos to further support their learning. It was difficult supporting students with technological issues. Students said that they would have loved faster Internet. They also wanted more books on the subject. In short, they wanted more to direct their own learning. Often, as teachers we have control issue and cant let go. Kids are more than capable of learning alone, it is a matter of what guidance and support we can provide to steer them in the right direction.
#sole #twocreativeteachers #Sugatra