There are some deep, burning questions plaguing me. They taunt me, causing me to change my mind regularly.
The simplest one to articulate, is, “Is it helpful and necessary to withdraw as many children as we do, in the later years of primary school, in order to support learning differences?”
I spend most of my time going in to Year 6 classes, supporting children within their daily learning environment to develop the skills that they require to prepare them for their class and life learning.
I feel that we cannot prepare for tomorrow or for high school. We are preparing our children for life. For thinking about how they approach the world, who they are as people and how learning is evident and knowledge and skills are gained, if we are open-minded, in everything that we do.
B comes into my office today (as he does once a week, every week) and we chat about where he has been; what he has done. He is always cognizant that I am human too and the conversation is two-sided. I show him a “spot the difference” image and ask if he wants to do it. “Sure …” he says, grabs a highlighter and starts investigating. I have selected an “adults’ puzzle” and there is no hesitation from him about its complexity. We talk about if this connects to his unit in class about how messages are conveyed and received and he talks about looking for clues and advertising.
Immediately after, he spies a rather large array printed in another part of the room and asks about it. I ask him if he wants to look at it and he says yes. He estimates the total number of sheep in he array without being prompted to do so and then, when I ask him how he could find the actual number, he launches straight into an explanation of his strategy. He has no problem asking Siri to solve the calculation for him. He knows how to use the tools he has. He is self-sufficient and is driving the session.
Then, I get B to look at some signs. He reads aloud, sounding out the more complex words and laughing hysterically at the messages that are being given. “What’s so funny?” I ask and we chat about the use of punctuation and the messages that are confused.
Our time together ends, and B happily says his goodbyes and heads back to class. He suggests that maybe his teacher would like to share some of the images that we used with his peers, so we share our slides with her.
And so, I sit pondering …“Is it helpful and necessary to withdraw as many children as we do, in the later years of primary school, in order to support learning differences?”
Could the whole class have done what we did?
Would they all benefit, perhaps prompting some to go off and create or find their own images?
Is this trans-disciplinary learning, or is this contrived way of supporting and enhancing the skills of a child in isolation?
What should I be doing differently? Is this right?