I love writing my blog but sometimes other things take over. I have been honing my hair styling technique this weekend as my eldest daughter participates in her first dancing festival. She is so independent. It made me think of school. I spend all my time attempting to train my students to think for themselves; to make their own choices. I have a variety of differentiated tasks which they can choose, allowing them the chance to take a little more control of their own learning. So why is it, when my 8 year old daughter is getting ready for her dancing festival, I am anxious and want to take over? I am sat here, watching as she has applied foundation and is now carefully applying eye make up. It would take me less than 5 minutes, but, and here is the teaching point, I would have to take those 5 minutes every time she needed it. This way means that we spend 20 minutes now but gradually build up to when she can do this, and anything else without assistance.
Sometimes the role of the teacher isn’t planning and doing more and more. It is sometimes gradually doing less and less. A gentle releasing of the support, the hand supporting the bicycle, so our young people can manage by themselves.
The art of the teacher is being able; with the use of data, awareness of the criteria and knowledge of the individual student, to be able to anticipate and predict when to let go and when to grab them. Sometimes we have to support, sometimes (in rare situations) a controlled failure or fall can be effective.
I have just watched my daughter plaster lipstick all over herself. The only question I asked was if she looked like a dancer. She has asked for help.
We have to differentiate, but if students think everything is going to be easy to understand without them thinking too much; then we are setting them up to fail. League tables can only judge academic progress, a school’s reputation is built on that and everything else.
My daughter has never done a dance festival before, she is excited, I am nervous but I am also proud of her growing indepence.
Addendum…she came first in her category!