Thursday, 26 February 2015

Joining the Dots

Today I had the privilege of accompanying 18 of our senior students to a GRIP Leadership Conference.  These 18 students represent our three year 6/7 classes and were chosen following collaborative processes that involved identifying the characteristics and qualities we would like to see in our leaders.  I can't speak for the other two classes but in my class all (self-nominated) candidates gave short presentation to the other students about how they demonstrate the identified characteristics and qualities. Our choices were based on these along with our prior knowledge of the candidates.

Back to today...

Amongst the other things covered today was the notion that leaders stand up.  They stand up when there's an opportunity, for the right thing, others and themselves. Of course we unpacked what that all meant and then the presenters mentioned a few people who exemplify these things.   Imagine my absolute delight when one of the students from my class leant over and whispered to me:

"All I can think of is Charlie Perkins. He was a real leader who really stood up."

I still grin like an idiot when I think about it.

The first time she'd heard of Charlie Perkins was yesterday during our Way Back Wednesday discussion about the Freedom Ride of 1965.  It was the first time that nearly any of my class had heard of him or the Freedom Ride which surprised me considering the media coverage the 50th anniversary has received this week. His life story and the '65 Freedom Ride really captured everyone's imagination.  I think our discussion left most students with more questions than answers, and eager to keep talking to learn more.

And that is why we never miss WBW.

I'm always very careful in my choice of WBW topic, and some weeks I struggle to come up with something that ties in with our other learning areas. (This is one of my non-negotiables: it must integrate across our programme so that it isn't a stand alone lesson.) The 50th anniversary of this incredibly important event in Australian history was one reason I chose it this week. I also needed to start talking explicitly about the concepts of primary and secondary sources, perspective and contestability - and what better way than with an event that has primary sources from various perspectives and secondary sources that raise questions about the primary sources. The icing on the cake for me was Charles Perkins' brilliant example of leadership.

As teachers we all get a thrill from those moments when students join the dots and create a masterpiece. Today. Today that happened for one of my students. Even the memory of it thrills me.

This relates to the following Australian Professional Standards for Teachers...
Standard 1 Know students and how they learn.
Standard 2 Know the content and how to teach it.
Standard 3 Plan for and implement effective teaching and learning.

1 comment:

  1. I am always inspired by the discoveries the kids make during their WBW.