Teaching and learning

The computer is back!  I am back!  Still can’t work all the programs but it will come.  I feel an obligation to rip Harper a few more orifices before the 19th but he and the other Cons do such a good job of looking like idiots so much of the time, it feels that everyone must KNOW by now what nincompoops they are.  The mere fact that so many Con candidates don’t show up for all-candidates meetings should be enough to convince any voters of their complete uselessness.  They are opportunistic puppets who couldn’t care less about democracy, it is just a crap-shoot that might yield a high paying job for them. How this contingent of imbeciles ever got this far in our politics is absurd.

But I am starting with something more OTG first.

We have a small school up here.  Maybe ten or so students spread over four or five separate grades.  All of it under the supervision of one teacher covering two separate classrooms. She does a remarkably good job.  The kids are great, full of energy and keen to ‘do stuff’.

To be fair, part of the success is due to parent participation which is very high – there is a parent assistant for almost every day school is in and, because of the travel-by-boat logistics, the school operates on a slightly more intense 4-day week.  Teacher sleeps over in the teachers-cabin for three nights.  But parent participation is not restricted to parents-of-children-in-the-school.  Sal and I have taught several times this year.

Yesterday was our third day at the school in a once-every-Wednesday series on dispute resolution skills and techniques for the four oldest children.  We explained the basics of mediation and negotiation and did some demos and had them do role-plays to try to include what they learned.  They were great!  They grasped the concepts and engaged fully in the exercise. It was fun and very rewarding.

Two of our city-friends were with us this time.  They are here for a short visit.  They came to the school, as well, asked questions and participated.  They were impressed with the fun, energy and attitude of all the kids and the adults that were there.  Because this was also a mom-with-tots Wednesday, the hallway and the classrooms were packed.  A quick glance would suggest an estimate of ten adults and twenty kids altogether.

Think about that – remote, sparsely populated off-the-grid island, one teacher……minuscule general population and the school on Wednesday was like Grand Central Station!

When we published our book, the teacher asked us to speak to the kids about it and we did.  That was fun.  Until the class was over and the kids decided to share with us what they already knew about writing and publishing…which was more than we did!  There were four older kids (since moved on to boarding-in-the-city high school) and they had published and were in the process of publishing more fan(tasy) fiction.  FF is sorta like the TWILIGHT series….magic, romantic, supernatural, fantasy type stuff……  They each had a book out there and a few had two!  And so we spent another hour learning from them.

Bottom line: the kids are good.  We are old and dated.  And the learning/teaching lines are blurred if not reversed.  And all the adults that volunteer up there feel much the same way. FINALLY!  After all these years, school is interesting.  Took awhile.

13 thoughts on “Teaching and learning

  1. Context is everything as is walking a mile in someone’s shoes. Multi grade schools afford the opportunity to build a family ethos and to build capacity among students who will face more challenging times in their lives than many baby boomers have faced. (I realize that we all faced challenges everyday but I suspect the climate change futures of these students will be confounding.) Currently there is a trend towards discouraging ‘directed instruction in favour of an osmosis type learning’ which is possible if the students are exposed to compelling role models. But the kicker here is the mistaken belief that schools teach mostly facts, dates, events and such when in reality the focus might be more profitably directed at looking at the dynamics interpersonal politics ie who gets what and why. The art of negotiation.


    • No question….they loved role-plying as a way to learn something and they grasped the concepts required. And none of it in a classic classroom fashion.


        • I think Arencee means that there are too many words for he/she to assimilate all in one sitting.
          OR he/she thinks they look too fat in those pants.

          Those kids sound like they might have been able to fix your windows 10 conundrum. BUT you’d have to kill them after they saw all your internet surfing perversions. The price you pay for free computor repairs I guess……


          • Yeah, well…I paid a guy to look at all my perversions and, at one point homicide was an option. But he stepped up…so he gets to live. I just hope he gets off viewing Honda carburetor details and naked Russian dancing girls.


        • Well I thought that it was humourous at the time…I’m getting older now so I don’t recall exactly why, but yes, it may have been too many words for one sitting. And then I think to myself ‘if I am so smart, how come I’m not rich?’ That seems to put me in my place…for a while.


  2. What a perfect way for schooling to happen. I’m a former educator and administrator. I did everything I could to encourage parents to participate in our school, and had some success, but nothing like yours. Good for your island. – Margy


    • We’re pretty lucky, Margy. The kids are great and the ‘parents’ are all pretty much retired. Mostly grandparents, actually. So there is plenty of time to give and a receptive group to give it to. I don’t think the school has ever had more than 15 students and we usually average about 11…..NOT counting the little brothers and sisters and tots that are often included. That makes the ‘ratio’ pretty good.


    • They are. They actually LIKE school. There’s a model here…..multi generations pitching in, some as teachers, some as students….all good.


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