Sunday, 5 August 2018

Engagement with Real Learning

Like all classrooms, we strive to ensure that our kids are engaged with cognitive learning as often as possible. The trouble lies in "What engages their brains best?" and "How do we even know?"
Too often I see kids sat behind screens looking engaged in what they've been set, yet in actual fact they are simply engaged in deception - How can I look busy and thoughtful while actively practicing avoidance? This is a skill that our kids develop early. I am lucky in teaching the younger ones, that this skill is not yet fully developed and is quite easy to spot.
Despite this, keeping kids actively engaged in meaningful learning is a complex task.

I've written many times about the importance of Key Competencies to actively drive academic learning. When teaching through key competencies, activities and experiences can't help but become engaging, fun and active. Collaboration, respect, self management, thinking, creating, critiquing and communicating - vital skills to hang the three Rs on.

I don't believe that children should be sitting anywhere ever for too long - our classroom designs now allow for more spaces, flexible spaces and different spaces. With multiple teachers in a space we now have the possibility to have a variety of activities and opportunities to suit all kinds of learning. We need to harness these possibilities and not just have kids sitting at tables, behind screens for the majority of their day.

Now that we are over halfway through the year, the 80 children in our space are a well oiled family. We've spent 20weeks establishing our whanau and the kids are all ready to fly with their learning and have some fun doing so.
We're encouraging our kids to branch out with their creations and learning. We're having statues built, Sketchnotes created, dances danced, paintings painted, Lego towers constructed, discussions shared, movies filmed and songs sung.  The children can't help but be cognitively engaged when the process and outcome involves laughter, sharing and showcasing their talents.

School is fun - just as it should be. They are kids after all.

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