This had been a paper, scissors and glue lesson. Paper had been cut and glued. Hair had been cut and glued. And even a few fingers have been cut and glued. Not many of the paper model houses had been built.
As the teacher got the children to sit in a circle at the end of the lesson, I expected that she was about to share her thoughts on how those little buildings should have been made.
In a voice that was wholly calm and filled with curiosity, she asked each of the students in turn questions like,
- “What do you think of the work you have done today?“
- “How satisfied are you with what you have done?”
- “What do you think of your behaviour in your group?”
- “How well did you get on with the task today?”
She then asked questions like,
- “What would you do differently?”
- “What could you have done instead?“
- “What would have been the best thing to do?“
- “What would’ve made you really happy about your work?“
The answers the pupils gave could have come from mature adults. They expressed how sad they were at having trashed the room, failed at the task, messed with each other and generally wasted the lesson. They expressed a renewed desire to be better, to do better and follow the teacher’s instructions in a focused way in the next lesson.
All that came from the pupils, not the teacher.
So here was the learning! It was not about paper, scissors and glue, nor about model houses. It was about doing what made you feel fulfilled. It was about collaborating, making good use of one’s time and having a good time.