Wake up! Slow down. Leave time for learning.


I caught myself again.

The last time was in 2013 and I wrote about it then too.

What did I catch myself doing? Rushing my children… and, by doing so, denying them countless opportunities to learn.

We’ve just moved to Paris. Everything is new. At the moment, the newest things are christmas decorations in the streets and the increasingly intense cold. Every morning, my children just want to look, talk, feel, experience, ponder, notice, appreciate and wonder. But, I have caught myself rushing them. Hurrying them up towards some imaginary or completely unimportant deadline – the need to be early, on time or not late.

It doesn’t really matter if I’m early, on time or not late. My children matter. their experiences of the world matter.

It’s shocking for an educator to do this to his own children. But, we do it to our students every day. We hurry them from lesson to lesson. We dictate their agenda all day. We reduce break times. We don’t give them enough time to eat. We decide if they can go to the toilet or not. We treat “inquiry” as a stand-alone subject that we do in the last period, if they’re lucky. We make their lives busy, indeed we teach the art of “busyness”, as if we don’t trust them to do anything of value if we don’t.

And yet, we all know that the most powerful learning happens when we slow down, when we give them sustained periods of time, when we don’t interrupt and when they’re making choices about why, how and what to learn.

Old habits die hard. How much of modern schooling is still “old habits”?


  1. Desiree

    Sam, I get what you mean. The classroom atmosphere actually shifts when we allow our students the ‘time and space’ to slow down. My goal for the new year – give them the time real learning deserves to make the learning happen.
    Enjoy Xmas in Paris.

    • sherrattsam

      Hi Desi – great to hear from you! The challenge is to strip away all those things that don’t REALLY have an impact on the kids and/or to consolidate things that just must be done.

      We’re going to England for the holiday, where its freezing cold! My kids are really hoping for a white christmas!

  2. caseybucheler

    So true Sam. It’s those moments when we step back, stop and listen to our children. To notice their wonderings, to respect their wonderings and see them for who they are. At the end of the day they are our future. Let’s nurture them!

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