I have just been in our Grade 2 classrooms. In our school we often talk about the “flow” of inquiry, the “momentum” of inquiry and how we can create the conditions for those in our “units” of inquiry.
What I just witnessed in Grade 2 tells me that they are currently creating those conditions. Students are so involved in what they’re doing that we, with our timetables, starting and finishing times and other agendas are literally interrupting them. We are breaking their flow. We are stopping their momentum.
And that’s fantastic!
These are 7/8 year old children. They have been through a process of reflecting on their lives so far, their strongest memories, the emotions they associate with those memories, choosing which memories to focus on, considering different forms of expression and selecting which form of expression to use to share stories about their memories. Pretty complex, eh?
Now, they are in varying stages of putting together their works of art – dances, paintings, drawings, lyrics, animations… all sorts. When you walk into any of their classrooms – which have actually evolved into art studios – you are immediately struck by the variety and the palpable atmosphere of purposeful activity.
Some of the students are not in their classroom. Some are in the PE department using the space and getting advice on choreography from PE Teachers. Some are in the Art room using materials and getting advice from the Art Teacher. Some have gone to the music room to seek out guidance on song composition.
Learning should look like this a lot of the time. Students accessing the variety of spaces and expertise that schools possess. Students working on something that is highly motivating and of their own design. Teachers working as connectors, advisers, referrers and consultants.
And, most of all, students should be disappointed when they have to stop what they’re doing… that’s when you know they mean it!
Even better though, would be greater flexibility so that those interruptions happen less.