Our geography lecture today was all about enquiry and planning with children. We did a few activities which involved looking at a first lesson on a topic the children hadn’t studied before in social subjects. We discussed and planned how you would get out this lesson – how would you entice the children into the new topic – and which e’s and o’s/benchmarks you would follow for a first lesson. This was helpful for us to discuss as teachers what to put and what not to put in a first lesson, as well as motivational elements to excite the children with their new topic.
Our TDT involved reading an article concerned with the child’s voice in the classroom.
What are the arguments for encouraging children’s voice in the primary classroom?
- The engage more with their teachers as co-learners.
- The can be ‘co-teachers’, working with and for each other. Aids and adds to teachers learning too.
- Many teachers lack understanding of geographical topics. Therefore a child’s knowledge can help boost a teachers confidence.
- Giving children a voice will enhance geographical learning, understanding and values for all in any primary classroom.
- Children can draw on own experiences, very real encounters and what they have witnessed in the world or in the media.
- Children’s voice can have impacts on future developments.
- Their voice can educate others, who then can educate more people – which can be in some instances, life saving.
- ‘Children’s voice’ can life changing to a generation.
- Increases personal development and confidence.
How can we do this?
- Let children lead the development of a topic.
- Let children be co-teachers.
- Encourage children’s voices to be heard beyond the classroom.
- Ask children what they want to learn or get out of a topic.
- Ask children if they know more about a certain topic.
Are there arguments against this approach?
- Some children may lack the competence and experience/knowledge to participate.
- Giving a child the right to be heard can take away their childhood.
- It will lead to a lack of respect towards parents.
- Children may become too confident and not respect the voice of adults.
How does a teacher’s educational philosophy influence the implementation of approaches in the classroom?
If a teacher is for children using their voice to share their experiences and opinions in the classroom then a feel the children will be more confident around their peers and not afraid and participate in class discussions as the teacher will encourage this ‘classroom voice’.
Depending on how much a teacher knows about a topic depends on how much pupil voice is wanted/needed. A teacher also might be very knowledgeable about a particular subject so therefore will ask for pupils what they want to know about the topic, knowing that they as the teacher can answer these questions.
A teachers patience also influences the approaches used in the classroom. If a teacher is patient they will encourage pupil questions and opinions to be heard. Whereas alternatively an impatient teacher may just want to voice their knowledge to their pupils and not ask for any input from them.
A teacher may feel greatly about the need for children to develop personally and children voicing their opinions is a great way to do this.
If a teacher also feel in the education philosophy that children need to be active participate in their learning, then they will also encourage children to use their voice.
S, Catling. (2014). Giving younger children voice in primary geography: Empowering pedagogy – A personal perspective. Article. Available at: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/271753614/download
G, Lansdown. (2011). Every Child’s Right To Be Heard. PDF. Available at: https://www.unicef.org/french/adolescence/files/Every_Childs_Right_to_be_Heard.pdf