Student-Led Learning? This is What we Mean
Last Tuesday the students from Karearea (Year 5-6) organised an Olympic games morning. All children participated in the games, grouped into about 25 country teams. The morning began with an opening ceremony and continued with a rotation of games, many of them invented by the senior children. For a couple of hours the entire school grounds and hall were abuzz with children running, jumping, hurdling, lifting weights, fencing with balloons, sock wrestling, kicking and throwing balls, and a host of other creative and challenging activities. The entire event, from inspiration to clean-up, was led by the senior children and managed by all the students themselves. For a couple of hours our staff had little to do but enjoy the spectacle and reflect on student-led learning in action.
Throughout the event our children were collaborative, respectful of each other, creative, responsible, communicative, resilient, motivated, enthusiastic and so on … the qualities we value in a confident lifelong learner. I was especially proud of how our older and more capable children supported the younger and less capable, and how they resolved problems.
A learning experience of this nature doesn’t happen by accident. Our senior children have learned how to organise themselves through many opportunities (like market days, student committees, tent city, peer mediation). Importantly, they know that leading learning - not just their own but all children’s - is expected around here: in fact it’s normal. For their part, junior children learn to trust the seniors (the new entrant buddy programme is brilliant for this) and to grow their responsibility for themselves and others: some of the best moments I observed on Tuesday were younger children helping and encouraging others.
As we were watching the event a staff member said to me, “we organised a school Olympics years ago, but then everything was managed by the teachers. We ran all the events and were stressed to the max about it, while the children spent most of the day standing in lines waiting for their turn, getting bored and cold and ratty. This is so different and so much more purposeful.”
That’s what we call student-led learning, and we invite you to come and see it in action at our ...
Wakefield School Open Day
Thursday 25 August
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