Lessons from camp

Having just spent 3 days on camp with our grade 5/6 students, I had lots of opportunties for reflection of a different sort as I watched our students collaborate, communicate, create and challenge themselves and each other all in the great outdoors.

As I watched & listened:

  • the Grade 6 boys persist at the rock climbing wall because the only one to achieve initial success was the smallest Grade 5 girl118_6380
  • students spending hours (minutes) together investigating seaweed on the beach, working together to dig holes and build sand castles, create their own rules for beach soccer, stand at the water’s edge and have in depth discussions about the waves 
  • students challenge themselves to perform in front of the group, engage in theatre sports, sing with joy around the campfire
  • students celebrate their successes and the physical and mental challenges they overcame

I wondered …. how do we get more of that in our learning back at school.

How can we make sure we set up the same opportunities for our students to …… investigate areas of interest, explore ideas in depth, challenge themselves to achieve beyond expectation, encourage and support each other in risk taking. How do we bring the camp into the classroom?

We (my teaching partner and I) are already exploring many of these questions – but we can do it better. 

I am currently participating in PLPConnectU, one of our group members asked the  question “I wonder how long it will take for us to realise that students no longer need teachers, but rather they need leaders and guides in building their resilience, knowledge and skills to embrace life of tomorrow?” This question really resonates with me – yes they do need leaders and guides (this is a  role I played so much more effectively on camp)

So in the midst of report writing, assessment, student led conferences …. we will be thinking about how can we be leaders and guides. What do we need to do differently? How can we provide an environment that promotes challenge, risk taking and learning? 

I wonder what would happen if next term we ask our students what they need to learn? And then we supported them to learn it? No naplan, no testing, no reporting – the perfect term to jump off the deep end and see what happens. Might just need to invest in a good pair of floaties.

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