For some years, my colleague has been telling me about her sessions as a “Granny”, connecting with children all over the world. The School in the Cloud platform helps students prepare for the future by using Self-Organised Learning Environments (SOLE). The “Grannies” spark students’ imagination and creativity by asking Big Questions or by guiding them to learn about something new …. Even teaching young children the basics of English.
I am fortunate to have joined this group of “Grannies”. I have a group of Year 6 girls who join me once a week to dial in via Skpe and connect with pre-school children in India.
The gorgeous children on the other side of the screen all have different levels of engagement. Sometimes one dances more than others, sometimes one claps more. They have a facilitator (and/ or a teacher) who encourages them to engage with us. Their little faces beam at us and our time with them passes much too quickly.
The Year 6 girls who have volunteered to run the sessions with me arrive every week and spend a few minutes going over what we have prepared, what they want to teach the children and how they want to teach it. They delight in the little ones’ reactions, often saying, “Look at this one …” .
Toady, they revise the parts of the body that they touched on last week and then teach them the adverbs ‘slowly’ and ‘fast’. Then , they are ready to sing their song, which they do in tiny parts, focusing on one verb at a time.
After each session , I ask the Year 6 girls how it went, what they want to try change, do again , try next time. Their response is different each time, but it seems that what they love most is the interaction with the little children. Today one of their take aways is that they are quite fascinated that it takes so much thought and preparation to share learning. “One day,” E remarks, “maybe I’ll be a teacher. I’m really enjoying this.”