Today, we were discussing about action and how to incorporate this into the everyday classroom life. I believe that action is important in further developing a pupil’s understanding of a topic/issue and that it is important to provide plenty of opportunities for pupils to reflect upon their actions.
Davidson (2009) points out the importance of tapping in to a child’s inner thoughts and being; ‘actions only have an enduring impact when they affect a student’s inner conviction, which requires genuine choice and genuine responsibility.’ This way, actions as a response will become a natural habit to a pupil and something that they genuinely want to do. This can start of with one person, but it is contagious and so hopefully this would spread throughout a classroom.
Action in a classroom does not necessarily mean always putting on big extravaganza bake sales to raise money for charity or going out into the community to garden for the elderly. It can be smaller things, such as apologizing to a friend that you have upset, or actively trying to remember to turn the light off after you have left a room to save electricity. Davidson (2009) talks about the importance of considering what children can directly affect or be involved in, rather than think about distant issues, ‘the more we focus on issues outside children’s spheres of influence, the more we highlight their powerlessness.’ In fact, choosing to not act is still a valid action and we shouldn’t overlook it. What is important is that regardless of how big or small, pupils see the importance of action, are aware of their responsibility and have a desire to act upon what they have been learning.
I watched this video and it gave me a lot to think about. It is amazing how the results show that the more children are involved and given opportunities and context for action, the more they achieve academically. Kiran Sethi points out in the video that pupils in her school who have been working as part of the ‘I can’ project were outperforming the top 10 schools in India in math, English and science.
It was inspiring to watch the videos of pupils in India making a change all over the country. From the video Kiran Sethi tells us of children teaching their illiterate parents to write, an auction raising 120000 Rs. for charity and the incredible story of 32 children stopping 16 child marriages! Stories of children even just going out into the local community and collecting plastic bags to reuse or filling potholes in the street are just as important because they are making a positive impact in that society. We may not be able to single handily stop water pollution or famine, but it is important that we inspire our pupils to do the little things that they can to help.
In the video, I was struck by how much children can achieve when they truly believe in something and work together. As Kiran Sethi said, ‘If adults believe in children and say ‘you can’, then, they will’! As a future teacher, it is important that I inspire my pupils to go out and take action, whether this is big or small. As Davidson (2009) says, ‘If we develop their character dispositions and ability to carry through on their choices, they can have a significant impact on the world later in life.’
Davidson, S. ‘Actions Speak Louder than Words’ in Davidson, S. & Carber, S. (2009) Taking the PYP Forward. Woodbridge: John Catt Educational Ltd.