Monday, December 18, 2017

"What we want is to see the child in pursuit of knowledge, and not knowledge in pursuit of the child."

George Bernard Shaw

When I was in training, my trainer Ginni Sackett, gave us a metaphor that has stuck with me ever since. She said, "the classroom is like a giant clock, full of ticking parts, and you are like the clock maker, you have to get the clock to work by itself. If you are moving all the parts, you are not doing your job right." (Or something to that effect.)

Sometimes I forget the above and am like a parent following a toddler around a room with a spoonful of food trying to feed him. Except in my case it's preschoolers and curriculum, not toddlers and food. And then the image of the clock maker comes to my mind. It is futile if I am the one moving all the pieces.

This happens mostly when I am tired. I recognize it.

I remind myself of what I want to cultivate instead:

To be able to identify authentic inquiry from the children, which can only happen through my own calm presence, observation and listening.

When I identify genuine interest, to be able to give just enough information so that it is a hook to their imagination, or to put the right material in their hands, to scaffold the next piece needed to fuel that fire.

Allow enough space and time for true exploration to unfold (and patience when that exploration manifests in a way I was not expecting).

When I don't know something, to say "let's find out".

Trust that children are always learning, and that they want to learn. That their learning follows their own internal drives and directives.

I am thinking of the ways to encourage motivation, interest, will to work, the internal motor of the children to run on its own and realize that the first thing to do is not be an obstacle for it myself.