Inspire l Inquire l Imagine

Celebrating Learning Stories Conference 2017

Session Two: 12.30-2.00pm


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Presenter: Lorraine Sands, ELP

Workshop 14: Do your Learning Stories make a difference to children’s identities?

Teachers who write about the edgy, open ended learning that happens as children are irresistibly drawn into learning powerfully contribute to children’s views of themselves as confident, capable learners. This is what makes the difference as children re-visit their learning and reconnect with the times when they ‘were being brave, being determined, being imaginative, being social’. These stories must be full of the characteristics that help shape children’s identities of themselves as learners. “I am brave…” “I don’t give up…” I practice… This is how I learn…”

In this workshop we explore what these Learning Stories might look like for children as teachers think deeply about children’s learning lives and then work to stretch this learning through planning a vibrant environment where children thrive as learners-in-action.

 

Personal bio

I have worked for ELP with teachers across all diverse settings in Aotearoa New Zealand since 2001. During this time I have drawn on my work at Greerton Early Childhood to support teachers to build learning cultures that enable each and every child to thrive as they begin to develop their learning identities. I have thought deeply about how current theory and research might be integrated into children’s, families’ and teachers’ learning lives in natural ways, that enable children’s learning identities to flourish. Whenever I work with teaching teams we have conversations about the value of Play in children’s lives.  We start with understanding that ‘play’, uninterrupted, complex opportunities for children to be in charge of their learning, is the key. It is in play that children are able to experience every aspect of social competency, of resilience, of social justice and resourcefulness. These are the building blocks of a strong identity as a learner who will be successful long term. When children see teachers being kind, helping each other, prepared to have fun, take risks and challenge themselves, then they in turn do the same. Our job is to set up opportunities for long periods of play and add value through meaningful, interesting conversation and provocations that stretch children’s learning without hi-jacking it. Not in a way that we ‘teach’ but in an enthusiastic, puzzling, creative approach to learning. First we must understand what play looks like and see the learning inside this. Hence the reason why Learning Stories are so important, for these are ‘windows’, insights into the kind of growing learner teachers, families and children themselves, are growing.