So, we have an elementary class with children who are given the freedom to work on that which interests them. And a rush of questions came to the fore as a result. How do they know what to do? Who’s teaching them? What work are they doing?
Okay, breathe.. slowly now.
If this model is going to take shape, it;s clear that the teacher can’t be teaching all these children at the same time, which means that there has to be work that they can chose to do which doesn’t require the teacher to be there beside them. They need to be able to work with independence. I’m loving this.
So, we’ll need work that is somehow self-contained, somewhat self-guided, and allows for independent work. There could be instruction cards. Some work could simply be clear about what you need to do, like research: you get books, read, make notes, etc. Maybe there’s musical work to do and other forms of art… those don’t need constant teacher direction, plus, there’s something to be said for explorative learning. (why doesn’t anyone talk about that?)
This is suddenly seeming like not quite the impossible task it was looking like. If the teacher can sit with 3-5 students at a time, say, while the rest of the class works independently on work of their own choosing, maybe this could work. We take the power/control away from the teacher ( I know, crazy right?)…. we allow the students to self-govern.. trust me, I’ve seen this.. they actually rise to the occasion very nicely when you stop playing the authoritarian card and make them responsible and accountable.
The teacher moves round through the day, checking in, giving lessons, helping where necessary. Suddenly what you have is a small community at work. Decentralized. Wait! It looks like a small office.. people doing the work they need to do, being accountable, self-directing… the manager available and there to guide and support… I’m liking this. This sounds like real preparation for life (the “ultimate prep school” – like it?).
More to come.