Photo courtesy of langwitches
I just realised I haven’t written a post since November. That tells you a little about the frantic and even disjointed month we’ve had, as well as December being a time to showcase, wind down, enjoy simple hands-on Christmas activities, and sundry things.
I’m not sure about Maria, who leads a much more hectic life at school than I do, and who is about to make a major lifestyle change and move to another town, but for me, these last few weeks have disappeared unexpectedly, and I find myself wondering where all the time went.
There were still things we had planned to do. Planning with Maria was so much fun; we were like little girls cooking up schemes and dreaming of possibilities. And although we didn’t have time to do everything we planned, in retrospect, we came a long way. Our boys started out as barely-out-of-primary school, bewildered and full of silly questions (“Do I rule a margin?” “Should I use a pen or a pencil?”), and finished their first year of secondary school having shared discussions about things that really mattered, having collaborated on chosen projects, expressed themselves in oral presentations, supported each other and learnt from each other in ning forums, laughed and chatted about films, shared personal stories, and much more.
They had taken on the challenge of the ning – something new and foreign to them, not in terms of technology so much as in terms of commenting and responding to others in discussion. They had been fortunate to interact with two authors online, learning from these people directly instead of just reading about them.
What do I think they have gained from our English class?
There is the visible and the invisible learning. Yes, the boys have demonstrated their learning both orally and through written responses.
But they have also sat quietly and not given away what will stay with them forever. Our boys have experienced a passionate, caring teacher in Maria, a teacher who believes passionately that the boys’ education is not just about grammar and essay writing skills, but about learning to appreciate beauty, to respect others, to think more deeply, to develop empathy and appreciate difference.
Sometimes I watched as Maria taught, and I knew that their attentive silence disguised secret internal activity. I could see that they were soaking in a kind of learning which keeps you going for years and years. I knew that these boys would remember their lessons for years to come, and perhaps express their learning eloquently one day to others who would learn from them.
Learning together. Learning for life.
Thankyou Maria xxx