Seeing beyond the cupcakes – what ‘itime’ should really be about.

As many readers of this blog will know, I have a particular interest in how we can best provide opportunities for children to inquire into the things that matter to THEM as well as the things that we might bring to them. I strongly believe in the value of what we might call ‘shared inquiry’ but I acknowledge its restrictions in a context that allows a much more diversified and differentiated approach. In several of my partner schools, staff have worked hard to develop approaches to ‘personalised inquiry’ alongside more teacher initiated, shared inquiries. The work has been fascinating, complex, problematic and revealing - but the children tell us over and over again that they adore the chance to spread their wings, to investigate what intrigues them, to have more of a voice and to step outside the predictable content that dominates most of their school days. There is something deeply satisfying about walking into a learning space where some children are busily modifying recipes and preparing to cook, some are continuing with myth-busting style experiments, some are outside in the garden, some researching the relative fuel efficiency of various cars, some setting up an interview with a local author and another devising a digital survey to gather data about health and well being.  The classroom becomes a microcosm of the world simultaneously explored by painters, scientists, sociologists, historians, geographers, activists, writers, musicians, engineers, chefs, naturalists …. I could go on!

Read More