So offering a Mandarin lesson could have been an advisable curriculum move if we had known that this conference was a real possibility!
Key Question to be asked here, What do we have to offer that may have an impact on the learning of these pupils across the globe?
In the UK we are constrained by the perceived ‘Outcome-led’ nature of some areas of academia, progress and attainment 8 scores, SATS at KS1&2, lip-service degrees being offered by establishments with the ultimate goal to get their students a first class degree rather than the other way round of pupils challenging themselves for that accolade.
Glacial as it may seem, the movement is now towards this idea of a lifelong learner, that your turn on the learning merry go round is one that will never end, and far from it making you feel slightly worse for wear with all of those stomach turning opportunities, we should embrace the dizzying nature of learning new and exciting things.
I once worked with a senior leader who decided that their assembly theme would be centred around the learning and subsequent application of new skills, opening their learning up to ridicule as they attempted in full view of KS3 to learn how to juggle.
Assembly 1: Their first attempt, discovery learning , some pupils offering advice, but overall lots of balls flying all over the place, (Y8’s loved that joke!).
Assembly 2: 3 weeks later, chunked information, videos had been watched, designated practice time undertaken, let ball flying, still no co-ordination!
Assemblies 3-6 followed much of the same pattern until assembly 7 where they walked in with no equipment and asked the following question;
We know of the expected the stock response from pupils, ‘Effort, Determination, Resilience!!!” but here, an environment had been created where the pupils were invested in the learning process, they wanted to see it through to failure and next steps, or success and application. Their answers were ones of dismayed outrage and almost hurt;
‘We need to see you do it sir’
‘If you don’t see it through it’l bug you and us for the rest of our time here’
Aspirations to create this sort of ethos around learning for all pupils is what we want to offer, to create opportunities for our pupils to expand their global understanding and investment in all learning they may be part of.