On teaching responsibility

The ‘no-rules’ provocation was an interesting exercise in ‘letting go.’ The result of the initial  30 minutes of no-rules was pretty much chaos.

Most of the kids ran around the classroom, threw things at each other before they got bored and ended up on Minecraft.

This could be an example of why teachers need to be there to plan everything and tell kids what to do.

However I filmed the provocation– showing the kids my perspective and let them draw their own conclusions.

  • Running around the classroom isn’t safe, kids fell over
  • Lots of yelling and screaming
  • Throwing things inside isn’t safe, people got hurt
  • People on screens don’t interact with the people around them

I noticed and named that nobody was creating and nobody went outside. The kids noticed and named that there wasn’t equipment out for them to play with.

Then we repeated the experiment with a slightly different  twist. The children would be responsible for there well-being.

I also left out art supplies, Makey makeys and sports equipment for the children.

The classrooms couldn’t be more different.

The next time children were

  • Making art and movies together
  • Constructing circuits using makey makey
  • Playing games
  • One group of girls decided that because they were hot and sweaty they needed to get a drink so purchased one from the cafeteria.
  • Playing minecraft

I have a conflicted opinion on minecraft. On one hand, I notice that the kids are experimenting and collaborating while building.

But like other educators, I wonder why can’t they do that in the real world?

When pressed the kids about the reasons for why they were doing what they are doing – the art kids talked about making because they enjoyed creating. The sports kids loved to run around. The movie makers enjoyed being actors. Yet when I asked the kids playing computer games, had no idea whey they were playing outside of ‘I like  it and I don’t get to play computer games.’

As I pushed one of the children on why they are playing Minecraft, it was because they liked science. When I noticed and named that the kids next to him were doing actual science he still couldn’t tear himself away from the game.

Don’t get me wrong, I love games and gaming.  However rather than ban computer games or embrace them a more useful conversation might be for the children to realise why they like playing the games. What it makes them feel like and what the game is trying to simulate from the real world.

The kids who played with  Minecraft were hard to organise after the time was up and then started throwing balls inside.

Fortunately I had my phone out and filmed the interactions. Another provocation for another day…

If we are serious about those PYP attitudes, they need to be more than just buzz words on the wall. We need to give authentic opportunities for the children to demonstrate those attitudes and provide meaningful assessment for them to continue to learn and grow.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: