Letting go of the reigns – freedom to learn

Our children are wired up differently.   I remember getting new ‘hardware’ at home and having to read through the instructions before switching on!   I remember my dad doing the same.   My children think it’s very strange to approach technology in a linear way.   They approach it from a completely different view point.   They explore, question, play, find out, analyse, pull apart and put back together but they don’t follow numbered instructions to learn how to do anything.   Any instructions are usually thrown out with the packaging!    Is this method of working utilised in schools? I wonder…
I remember that most of my learning in school was linear, it had a clear beginning and end.   You started at the top and finished at the bottom.   Writing is a good example of how our thoughts and presentation were shaped by such methods.   You had to get your head round each sentence, paragraph, section in order, one at a time – that’s how I remember being taught.   With word processing children can dip in and out, they can allow their thoughts to wander around a subject, writing a bit here and a bit there.  Changing ideas as they go.   How different to the straight line schools followed in times gone by.
I recently took a group of children from school to an evening performance at the theatre.   While we were waiting for the show to start one of them asked me if they could have a go on my phone.   I passed it to her and within a couple of minutes she had handed it back to me with a series of morphed photographic images playing across the small screen.   ‘That’s great!’ I exclaimed.   “Have you got this phone as well?’ ‘No’ she replied, “I just had a play!’   My youngest son made animations on my old phone when he was seven using plasticine, flip books and playmobile (a creative freedom to learn not permitted in school) he will tell you now at 11, that his real learning begins when he walks through the door at home.

At Hawes Side we try to make the most of the children’s interests, creativity and naturally inquisitive nature.   Pupil forums such as the Teaching and Learning group and the Web 2.0 group regularly try out technology and new approaches to learning; we encourage them to explore and experiment (not that they need encouraging!) Their findings always amaze me and the way they approach their learning shows just how much things have changed from yesteryear.

Learning, at it most excting is about exploration.   There are more opportunities today to  exploit such an approach than ever before.   We need to trust children, to let go and give them the freedom to learn and discover things in their own way.   We may just be surprised by the results!


About smichael920

Headteacher of a large primary school in North West England. Helping me to blur the distinction between work and home, I am also father of five, covering most phases of education thus giving me the lowdown from within and without. Education is about enjoying today and preparing for tomorrow. This can't be done using the tools of the past. View all posts by smichael920

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