‘In Your Element’ Afternoons.

Throughout the year, the class have been teaching others in a formal and informal manner. They take ‘opt-in’ meetings for students on topics to do with what we are learning at school. They tutor their peers when they need some help. They peer assess. They give each other constructive feedback. Everyone in the class is a teacher and a learner.

This week, we started having meetings for the whole class on more athletics topics. I am about the least sporty person on the planet so we don’t do nearly enough P.E in my class. Three children have taken three different meetings this week on skipping, tai chi and soccer. Each meeting went incredibly well. The ‘teachers’ planned their lessons well and lead effectively. The students enjoyed the lessons and learned a great deal. We reflected on the teacher and the students at the end of each lesson and really unpacked what worked and what didn’t.

I’ve been mulling over how to get children ‘in their element’ more frequently at school ever since reading Sir Ken Robinson’s book on the subject. But it hasn’t been until this week that I’ve come up with an idea (in collaboration with my class) that I think will work and is sustainable. After a bit of discussion, we have decided to have what we have called ‘in your element afternoons.’

This week we have unpacked what being in your element is, which we have defined as where a passion meets a talent. Children have identified themselves as writers, artists and many more. They have recognised talent in themselves and in others, and recognised people have talents that lie both within and beyond the school gates.

Next term, every child will have the opportunity to teach the whole class for at least one half hour slot, on a Friday afternoon. After much discussion it was decided that every child will be expected to attend such lessons so as to gain an understanding and appreciation of others’ talents as well as to learn something new.

The students are excited about developing their leadership skills; sharing their talents and passions; and learning new things. I’m looking forward to learning new things too and to celebrate the individual strengths the class has.

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