It has been great to enjoy our pupils’ continued successes this week. We thought the pupils could pull off a win at the Littlegarth competition against 16 other prep schools – and it was brilliant that they did so. Their problem solving was superb. Many thanks to Mrs Hayes for taking the team. It was also good to see some cricket this week and see parents enjoying the games.
One of my favourite things when teaching is getting kids to relish a challenge – to do so though they needed to be willing to take it on and trusting of the person presenting it – or just rash. I can recall taking over a GCSE class that was struggling. Their first teacher was off for the year – their supply cover was a super teacher but a Geographer not an Historian – so he’d conveyed content but they lacked a bit of confidence in their learning. We (and I say we as it was a challenge to me too!) had to cover three quarters of a GCSE syllabus in two terms… goal 1 – develop trust and confidence so they’d tackle the work with focus – goal 2 – use that confidence to stretch them and challenge – and so their heads were clear when it got harder. They took on the challenge. Moving a child on from feeling confident to relishing challenge, and also thinking clearly on something they had struggled with before, is an absolute joy to watch. It’s why we teach.
Daniel Willingham in his book ‘Why don’t students like school?’ argues that children find thinking hard – our job is to excite them to want to do it and find the sweet spot of challenge for them to take on. His website is packed full of fascinating articles. http://www.danielwillingham.com/articles.html
Why do I say this? Next week for my assembly I will be asking the teachers to tell me what challenges they are most proud their classes have taken on, and the pupils to let me know ways they’ve faced down challenges this year.
The Littlegarth Maths challenge was an external challenge the pupils tackled with real drive and guts – for others it will be different challenges – but feeling proud is key.
Next week sees a concert which will be nerve racking for some – and tutor tutor interviews for certain years, which will have at their core discussions on academic targets for the rest of the term.
I look forward to seeing some of you later at Songfest, which already sounds to be shaping up to be a fabulous evening.