When I was the mother of two small girls I heard a grannie on the radio. She had a compelling tone – wise and warm mother-earth – so I listened intently. I remember her stark warning: “Never rush a child.” She talked about the importance of going at the pace of the child. I cringed inside – as a mother of two small girls, I constantly felt time poor and impatient and I had been doing a lot of rushing. I resolved to do better and quickly saw the benefits.
I have often thought of her words in teaching situations, in school or at home. How easy it is to show, to tell, to lead, to instruct, to intervene… in other words, to take over. How much more instructive for a child to discover for themselves, their way, in their time, by learning from mistakes. How much more instructive for us as teachers to see how the child’s mind is working, how they are constructing meaning.
It is often not possible in a busy classroom of 30+ students or when we are rushing around at home to give children space and time. But whenever possible, do not rush a child. Ask a question, pose a challenge and leave time for the journey towards an answer. Better still, give them time and space to formulate their own questions and set themselves challenges. Children who are given opportunities to find their own way will be more resilient and more employable, and they will also be happier people.
It is a universal human trait to want to give up when things get hard. Not surprisingly, there are plenty of mantras written to inspire us through these times. Mantra 1: When the going gets tough, the tough get going. This one is well-meaning, but actually not very helpful. It divides the world into the … Continued
Peer Mentoring: a catalyst for personal growth The FunKey Maths Peer Mentoring programme trains Year 5 students (age 9-10) to work with children in Year 2 (age 6-7) who have started to struggle in maths. The highly structured programme helps the younger children build their confidence and develop their maths skills. The programme started in … Continued
The FunKey Maths Peer Mentoring Programme is an intervention which pairs trained Year 5 children with Year 2s who are below age related expectations in maths. The Year 5s work with the Year 2s through a structured programme of maths activities, which develops both self-confidence and number skills. It is the culmination of years of … Continued