Take Them to the Fish…
Lisa Murphy, at one of her workshops, took a paper plate cut a triangle into it a la Pacman, took the triangle and glued it opposite to the side she cut. Then she exclaimed, “Hey Look! I’m teaching them kids about fish!” Her tongue was planted firmly in cheek.
She went on, “That’s not teaching them about fish! You wanna teach them about fish? You bring the fish to the kids, or bring the kids to the fish.” At which point, the audience applauded thunderously.
How often do we forget this? I seem to always forget the experience when I am so focused on the goal. I think, what do I want them to learn about fish? What are they interested in learning about fish? How can we productively discuss fish?
I forget that anything I say about fish is not nearly as important as anything they DO with fish. More importantly, I have to think about how emotionally connected the children are to what they are doing. Tapping into those emotional connections has always proven to be a key to motivating children to do well.
The way I look at it, the easiest way to have the children be connected to what they are learning is to make it fun and interesting. The discussions are important, but even more important is fostering enjoyable learning experiences so that they learn to love learning.
From now on, I don’t start with the discussion. I start by taking the kids to the fish.