You’re on your own!

We are currently doing a unit of inquiry into systems of government and organisation and decided to get the students putting their learning into practice this week. Could they organise themselves without the teacher present?

At 9:00 yesterday the Year 6 teachers played a short video explaining we were now relaxing on a beach in Fiji (if only!) and would be unavailable to them for the day. We then spent the day peeking in on our classes, but not interfering and certainly not giving guidance. Room 3 did incredibly well. The class looked much the same as it does when I’m in there. Meetings were taken by kids, not me. Children did their work and were really rather on task and engaged, given they had no teacher. I might have made myself redundant!

At the end of the day, the students reflected on the experience and I was surprised at how negative they were. They have such high expectations of themselves. Here is a summary of their reflections:

  • How much learning did you do?

Heaps – 0% —— A good amount -52% —– Average – 38% —– Not much – 9% —– Almost nothing – 0%

  • How respectful were you?

Incredibly – 14% —– A good amount – 62% —– Average – 24% —– Not very – 0% —– Not at all – 0%

  • Did you like it? Yes – 95%    No 5%
  • Would you like to do it again? Yes – 81%     No – 19%
  • Was it a worthwhile experience? Yes – 95%    No 5%

I was in two minds about whether or not to continue this today. On the one hand, I think the class had got all the learning they were going to get out of it. But on the other hand, they had reflected on the experience and knew what changes they would make if they had the opportunity to do this again. So we continued the little social experiment again for one hour today, which I’m glad I did. The leadership was smooth and fair, the class respectful of the leader (and other class members) and plenty of learning was done. Here are their reflections for the second time around:

  • How much learning did you do?

Heaps – 30% —— A good amount -61% —– Average – 9% —– Not much – 0% —– Almost nothing – 0%

  • How respectful were you?

Incredibly – 70% —– A good amount – 30% —– Average – 0% —– Not very – 0% —– Not at all – 0%

The class learned how capable they were, independent of the teacher, and were able to teach each other with absolutely no notice, because they had the resources to do this, thanks to plenty of work on personalising their learning. They saw how difficult it was to be leader and what sort of characteristics were required of both leaders and followers. They solved problems collaboratively and were really keen to rectify the (minor, I think) issues they had on the first day. I think the whole experiment demonstrated the kids’ value of learning too, as they could have easily spent the day playing. I must say, I was pretty impressed with these 10 and 11 year old’s capabilities.

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3 thoughts on “You’re on your own!

  1. this sounds amazing – thanks so much for sharing, hopefully I could set me class the same challenge and get the same results. i do fear there may be blood spilled though!

  2. Wow what a brave lady trying this out!!! Obviously you had set the children up with many skills before you got to this point. I love the way the children are able to honestly reflect on this experience. When we can all understand how we can make changes that make a difference to us and others this has massive consequences! Well done people of your class!

  3. Fantastic Emma. It would be interesting to try at the beginning of the year to see what skills they needed. You have obviously done a fantastic job with this class. I wonder how our government would do with a speaker in chambers?

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