We started off this evening’s session with a warm up which involved walking around the room to ‘fill the space’ and then stopping and completing actions for certain instructions. For example, when Peth shouted ‘TV’ we’d all look up to the same point by the ceiling and stand for just a few seconds with all of our eyes pinpointing the same spot. When Peth shouted the instruction ‘down’ we’d drop down to the ground, again freezing all together in a fixed position. We then changed these instructions so that they related to primary school routines such as ‘playtime’, ‘assembly’ and so on. This put the focus on ‘primary’ from the outset and it was a great way to start the session and get our thinking caps on.
From this, we took time (seeing as we have now had a fair few workshops), to do a feedback session. Each of us wrote down our thoughts on a piece of paper, focusing on three questions in particular:
1. What we enjoyed
2. What we thought worked well
3. What we’d like to work more on
The feedback ranged in its entirety, but the general consensus was that there should be more music and song incorporated or a focus on that as part of primary school. Participants truly enjoyed the activity where we remembered our classrooms and we then had to re-create them and they also felt that the work we have done on developing the relationships between student and teacher has been a great success, amongst many other things. For inspiration we put the mind map that we had worked on in earlier sessions on display on the wall, as well as all of the blog posts documenting the workshops thus far.
Next we began to address the somewhat poignant yet interesting topic of bullying; we focused on a time when we felt, at school, that we were either a bully or had been bullied. In groups we drew on the examples that we had remembered and created freeze frames to animate them. During the freeze frames the person whose story it was would tell the rest of us their memory whilst the remainder of the group would illustrate it with a freeze frame. We worked on transitions too as we wanted the three or four freeze frames to have fluid transitions between them all, almost as if they told a story; a story that, despite the overarching theme being the same, contrasted completely with the content. Memories ranged from playground bullying and academic competitions, to people singling others out or “telling on you” to the teacher! Again, this evening’s session saw another time where we drew on memories we thought we’d perhaps forgotten and this helped us to work them through more thoroughly. Additionally, some of us found the memories funny on reflection which was amusing. It was funny that what we classed as “bullying” at the time, now seemed so trivial when we looked back on it!
To end the session we had a look at a section of the transcript of an interview that was carried out with a peer learning support mentor, which related to what we had been doing regarding bullying during the workshop. We read the transcript together out loud, each person reading a line at a time. It talked about how this person worked with children who were described as having ‘really challenging behaviour’, as well as their perspective on how teachers are equipped to respond to challenging behaviour and different learning styles. Reading it out line by line together led us into a small group discussion about this to round the evening off, paving the way for more discussion about the politics of facilitating different learning styles and the challenges that teachers face in doing so.