Recently, one of our Early Years Teachers – Jenna – said schools like ours are going through a bit of an “identity crisis”. She’s right.
One way we’re going though an identity crisis is in our use of time.
We all know that learning is most powerful when we allow it to flow, when we design learning that has momentum and then honour it by letting it continue. Instinctively, we can all sense when our students need more time and when stopping them is an interruption that they may not recover from.
But, what do we do every day of their lives in school? We stop them. We interrupt them. We create brief, fragmented bits of teaching for them. Its the stop-and-start, come-and-go, here-and-there, bits-and-bobs model of education. Its our special way of abusing time!
Fortunately, I am not alone in this way of thinking. A group of our teachers recently went to Learning2 in Manila and came back determined to undo the damage that had been done to their timetables… here are some ways we can all do this:
- Only have the bare minimum locked in to your timetables. In most schools, this just means specialist lessons that have specialist teachers.
- Plan one or two days in advance only. Allow the events of each day to inform what happens the next day.
- Have a paper version of your timetable, A3 is best, that you can write on. This way, you can “go with the flow” as well as indicate where and when you have done the essentials, such as stand-alone maths.
- Help your students understand the importance of momentum and flow in their learning and get them to tell you when they need more time or when they don’t.
- Get to know your curriculum like the back of your hand so that you and your students can make connections with it as learning evolves.
Your timetable is often the main thing that is holding genuine, deep learning back.