Reflections of the day…….
A really worthwhile day!
Getting there ….yes I think we did well Chrissi! Dealing with diversions, building works at the train station, dodgy directions from locals and absent signage….I must get a smart phone with sat nav though!
Everybody had put a lot of effort into the preparation which I feel was rewarded by the positive outcome, illustrated by the faces of the children, the general chat throughout the day and the feedback from the staff at the end.
Having a young audience was a challenge, particularly knowing where to pitch the assembly and trying to explain and illustrate the subject matter of buildings in a way which was interesting, enjoyable, understandable and fun. I was mindful of the importance of connecting and getting the attention from the start.
The day before I visited a local builder’s merchant to get some materials to try and illustrate to the children how and why buildings are put together the way that they are. I was lucky to obtain the help of someone in the merchants who understood what I was looking to do and who went the extra mile to provide help and supply what I was looking for. So thanks to Bob!
The School had a completely different feel compared to the environment of a University campus. This reinforced my view that the importance of the teaching environment and its impact on the learning experience should not be understated.
Tackling an assembly was something that I had never done before. Having three children of my own, 7, 10 and 12 was good though as I was able to try out some ideas on them before hand and receive comments like ‘Dad you are joking aren’t you’ or ‘ok that could work’ and ‘why don’t you try that’. Interaction is what my children suggested was lacking in their assembly’s so their inside knowledge (know your audience) was a great help.
The rationale for the assembly was to introduce the built environment in a simple but memorable way. Also to get the children thinking about the buildings they live, learn and play in. I also felt the use of language in the delivery was important here. So we looked at famous buildings and structures from around the world and also highlighted the different types of buildings, trying to use examples which they could relate to, including ‘Chocolate Factories’ and then focused on different types of homes, again looking at various examples from around the world.
I also wanted to use a simple visual aid which the children could relate to and help them remember something important. I decided on a lemonade bottle. This illustrated a means of lighting homes with plastic bottles and water, in deprived places overseas, such as African villages or shanty towns in South American cities where no services exist to light the dwellings. Simple, but hopefully effective.
We got the children to form houses of different shapes and sizes using themselves which also challenged the teachers to maintain order and avoid chaos, but got the children interacting and moving around which they appeared to enjoy. I was keen to conclude on something which they could give some further thought to. I decided on the impact of development on the global environment. The session seemed to be well received which was good, helped I believe by trying to focus on participation, interaction and fun.
I think we managed to maintain this throughout the day particularly from looking at the photos…. What to take to Higher Education? Perhaps considering how to create that buzz, engage and connect with the students, involvement, discussion, problem solving, being visual and creative when looking to bring the subject matter to life…and lots more probably!
Wheeling in the building materials in a barrow seemed to provide a little impact when we moved to the classroom which was good……getting the attention at the start! Then the issue is holding it and getting the children in groups to build boats and houses certainly did that…..
The enthusiasm of the children in tackling the tasks was so noticeable, as was the dynamic in the classroom over the day, which went so quickly, with the pupils focused and engaged in the learning, whilst clearly enjoying themselves at the same time. Refreshing and good to see. As I said at the start, a really worthwhile day.
Returning to the bottles providing light…..
‘We must view young people not as empty bottles to be filled, but as candles to be lit’
Robert H. Shaffer