Archive for March, 2012

Is free play ‘teaching’ ?

Conversations with friends, after I have taken my workshops often go along the lines of ‘ If children are allowed to explore on their own, how do you teach them?’ Another  common question is ‘what is the learning intention behind your outdoor workshops?’ and  what do you tell your children that they should be learning from your workshops?’

The only response I can give is that the children learn for themselves. I am there to help them discover. I cannot tell them what they should be learning. Indeed a lot of the time I do not know myself as my sessions are geared to exploration in itself. An explorer sets out to discover something new, not with an end goal of what it is that they are going to find. That is how I look at my teaching.

This is a difficult concept for most adults to get to grips with as it contradicts the standard teaching model. However by letting children discover for themselves, questions emerge that you would never imagine. Last workshop we were excavating in the park and we found volcanic rock, critters that no one was able to identify and a whole range of colours and shapes. All of this was found by the children with very little input from me. The whole group was totally engaged for the entire session.

The key I have found to teaching is to question lots but to answer less…..