Elements of control

In my previous post on child-led teaching projects, I spoke briefly about perceived control and happiness being directly linked. The ‘teach someone something’ idea is still very much a work progress, but sometimes I need to remind myself that there are small ways to introduce elements of choice and, therefore control, into a classroom that don’t require a ‘spare hour’ or big break from the timetable.

Could you…

  • let children decide who to work with?
  • give children a choice of topics to choose from?
  • allow children to decide the mode of output of a final piece of work – poster, presentation, short film, website, scrapbook, model, blog post, a combination of the above or something entirely different?
  • ask children where they would like to work?
  • challenge children to plan how they are going to make a project happen and what resources, materials and tools they will need?

I am trying all these things with our latest topic, which is all about natural disasters.Today, the children grouped themselves, chose what type of natural disaster to focus on, decided how they would present their final project and planned what they would need over the next few weeks as well as what to bring in for the next lesson. They were given some guidelines about some things they must include such as an explanation as to what causes their chosen natural disaster, where they occur and famous examples, but apart from that it’s very much up to them. The buzz in the classroom was undeniable.

How do you introduce elements of control in your classroom?

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