Recently I read an article (I can't remember what it was exactly) where the author questioned whether modern learning environments, national testing and use of technology were beneficial for student learning as they were largely untested in practice. (I know people are doing inquiries on these things and studying them but I could understand the author's intent) As I was reading this it occurred to me that putting children in 'school' for 'formal education' so they can 'become learned' starting at 5 years of age is largely untested in terms of improved outcomes for our modern children too. Nature however provides a plethora of evidence that learning through play and at developmentally appropriate times seems to be effective. But I digress... let's get back to the current game of school...
Now I think it is unfair that we don't explain the rules so I will do my best to start a list, if you know any other rules that I have omitted please feel free to add them in the comments, it can be quite complex:
- Firstly sit down, sitting down is important... it shows that you are listening (I know your ears are what you hear through but apparently your gluteus maximus has a part to play too)
- Now talking is good at times when it is invited and you talk about the topic at hand, do not get distracted by something exciting happening outside or what might be happening in your own life right now.
- We have standards that you need to aspire to and should reach by the prescribed time, these are mostly in literacy and numeracy. If you do not reach these standards you are losing the game. (Word for the wise, there is not much of a lead in period to this, at the end of your first year you will be measured so make sure you measure up)
- If you are losing the game you may be offered extra help that you must take, this will likely be more literacy and numeracy so I hope that you like those areas of learning or this is going to be one very long game for you.
- Play is what you do at morning tea, after you have eaten your lunch (and you need to eat your sandwiches and fruit first even if your biscuits look really yummy) and after school once you have done your homework.
- Don't argue with those in power, you are not in power. Do as you are told and all will go well. If you please your teachers this game will be easier to win.
- Be good, it is good to be good. Be good as often as you can. Avoid being naughty or bad, that is not good.
Technically if you win at this game you will be considered educated and equipped to play the game of life (yes a new game but if you are smart and/or lucky, this time you get to make some of the rules- choose wisely)
Also note: there are many other rules and regulations that you will learn in one way or another during your participation as a player in this game. Some of them will prove useful once you leave this game like being kind does make a difference and persistence can lead to great things for you, others less useful like you are a failure because you communicate better through pictures than words. Be discerning about the rules that you take away with you.
Disclaimer: I am a teacher and I believe strongly in education and learning, I am proud of my chosen profession. I believe in childhood and developmentally appropriate learning opportunities. I believe in relationships based on trust and love being the foundation of great learning for all. I believe that we all have talents and school can be a great place to nurture our talents. I believe that literacy and numeracy are important as are the arts, health and wellbeing, engaging with nature, understanding people etc. I believe that school should be a safe place for our children, where they are accepted and appreciated. I believe that our students are wanting school to be a different game to the one we played when we were young, I won at that game, I was (and still am) a people pleaser... it isn't always a healthy thing.
Image from: http://pixgood.com/hopscotch-chalk.html