The Passions Matter Conference – our first student owned conference is done and dusted. As always, some reflection is required, so I head off to listen to the voices of those who count the most – our Year 6 learners.
H enjoyed running his workshop and teaching his peers about how the ball spins in soccer. He had to dedicate a lot of time to preparing for his workshop with C. They had all the information in their heads, but needed help considering how to turn it into a workshop. Their young mentor guided them to the extent that they entered as leaders feeling confident. He feels that the student led workshops were too long. The outsider leaders included an element about their own story and passion that added an extra layer to their workshops. This really impressed him.
G was a reflection group leader who learnt how important it is to listen to other people. He was really flexible, welcoming extra people into his. The meeting that he had with a teacher, preparing for the group helped him to feel prepared for anything! G’s big take away from a 5 minute talk was, “Don’t give up on your passions as they can develop.” The 5 minute talks were touching and a highlight of the day. He also liked the fact that he could learn outside of the classroom in a fun way.
E was a participant in the day. He thought it was beneficial for people who co-operated, but for people who weren’t co-operative, they wasted the day. He thought the big message was “If you have a passion, you can develop it and make it part of your life “- choosing the “right workshop” helped form this opinion. Some of the workshops were great because there was a variety of activities and learning engagements. The 5 minute talks were inspirational and the slides added great value. He didn’t want to run a workshop as he didn’t want to miss class time.
J ran a decorating workshop. She planned it with a friend. They budgeted, shopped, baked and planned. She noticed that in the two groups that participated, only one used a strategy. The group that did not have a clear plan faltered and did not do as well as the group that had a clear plan.
The learning that took place for educators, mentors and children is clearly evident. The children who participated in planning workshops, reflction groups, 5 minue talks, catering, signageand all the rest took great pride in the results.
What did I learn?
While some of my take aways seem rather obvious and clichéd, they are all true …
- I am not in control of the rain
- Some people embrace everything, others not as much
- We reap what we sow
- The more we “put in”, the more we “take out”
I am reminded:
- When people are given ownership, they feel that putting in effort, beyond the expectation of others, is a privilege, not a job
- We all need mentors and inspiration – people and ideas to look up to and aspire towards
- Learning takes place in places way beyond the classroom
- Everyone has great abilities – sometimes they need help to explore them.