All the world’s a playground

July 2-3

Into the teaching now. Worlds are touching. Seeing your mentoring put into action highlights your own strengths and weaknesses as well as the teacher’s. I saw my magic trick enhanced by the substitution of bright ribbon for plain string. I commented on this and Reasmey made me a present of pink ribbon to use myself.

Where we’d be reaching for the interactive whiteboard, here lessons are made fun and innovative with plastic drinking cups, rocks and drinking straws. Anne mentions later how perhaps we’ve swung too far with technologies. We lose touch with other, simpler possibilities and sometimes equate the mere use of technology with good learning.

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Both lessons I observe are strong and I wonder again about how I could do the instructional session again differently and with broader scope. I am already making notes.

Nice for our kids that you can make a game without things that are bought. Karen

At Prek Norin the other Glenwood teachers run stations for a sports rotation. My original job was to help in the overall organisation but instead I am redundant and get a career change to photographer. The teachers and parent-helpers that are learning the process have a fantastic time, despite the constant intervention of the wet season. The students who are waiting to have their turn take full advantage of the weather, running in the rain, playing monsoonal soccer and sliding down what looks like a mud skateboard ramp inside the curve of a long drainage ditch. I reckon they should put that into the rotation. There they were, outside, in the rain, no devices, no boredom, the world is their playground and their play equipment is just whatever.

When it comes time for the kids to have their turn at the formal rotation, we discover that they have been observing so well that they spontaneously form four equal rotation groups! They are quick to pick up the games and the Glenwood teachers find the language barrier suddenly non existent. It’s easy to see small arguments about pushing in and having extra turns.

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Doing the relay demos the next day I was more active. I got chosen to be a “wolf” in a stuck in the mud type game (real mud). I decided to ham it up and to bare my teeth rabid wolf style behind the back of all the instructors. Absolutely no one in our instructor group noticed this and I think they were puzzled by the suppressed laughter coming from the trainees.

In my photography duties I met a few other hams too:

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For the relays and ball games carnival, the students once again self-organised their groups have seen how it worked with the instructees. Clever bunch. These were entirely supervised by the trainee parent-helpers and teachers. Simone nevertheless found herself inching closer and closer to the groups, subconsciously drawn there by the inexorable gravitational force of her powerful teacher instincts.

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The discussions over dinner ranged from the educational inspiration of people like Ken Robinson – who in government will start to really listen to people like him? – to the efficacy of skeptical enquiry, to explorations of faith, and eventually to dark matter and dark energy driving the acceleration of the expanding universe. From the deepest centres of one’s inner being to the limits of the cosmos. To see beyond our inner borders, to expand each other’s universe and then go out to places where the word border has no meaning at all. What a perspective!

What a playground of possibilities!

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