Today’s first input for my Developing Effectiveness in Learning and Teaching module gave me a lot to think about and reflect on. I have to say that interdisciplinary learning is not something that I myself thought about when I was in school, however I remember my school days quite clearly. Now I think back to my days in school I can point out subject content which linked together, but at the time it really didn’t cross my mind in the slightest that we were doing maths and ICT at the same time or science and literacy for example.
I’m always very honest about the experiences that I had in school – good and bad – but in this post I want to focus on one of the P4 projects that really made me motivated to learn at the time. It was the still popular today topic, Egyptians and I loved every second of it! My grampy did his national service in Egypt so has always told me loads of stories about his role out there at the time and the kind of things he had to do (mostly getting up to mischief and into trouble by the sounds of it – but that’s my grampy for you!). Maybe it was this connection to home that helped me really engage with these interesting lessons which says a lot to me about the idea of making sure you can connect subjects to a child’s life at that time. I was able to learn in school and then go home every week to phone my Grampy and tell him about what we had been up to, which I thought made me very clever at the time.
However, I think the teacher had a hand in making this a memorable topic too by making the activities that we did in class time engaging. The most memorable activity for me was making papyrus. I loved (and I mean loved to the point where I did it at home too) the messy side to making the papyrus, the waiting for it to dry and then carefully planning what we were going to write on our papyrus when it was ready to use. As a class (only 6 of us but still) we all made a decision to draw our names in hyrogliphics on the papyrus and I can clearly remember us all trotting along to the local library to research hyrogliphics so we could write our names out when our papyrus was ready. I was quite small in P4 and I believe there was an argument over who was getting to use the photocopier which I lost because of my height and the fact I wouldn’t say boo to a goose – so this topic wasn’t all the sweetness and light I make it out to be…
It’s probably down to the fact that we took time out of the classroom and it was the first time I had taken proper ownership of my work by researching what I wanted to do on my papyrus that led this to being one of my fondest memories of primary school. Moreover, it has also led me to believe that children taking full ownership of their work is something really important in a classroom and this experience has moulded the type of practitioner I have seen in action in the nursery and I’m sure I will see as a fully qualified teacher.
On a final note, the Egyptians topic really left a lasting impact throughout my schooling as 8 years later in S5, I was off to Egypt myself to see the pyramids, hyrogliphs and mummies on a school trip with my favourite teacher. It was an experience I will never forget and I’m so proud that the shy little girl from P4 managed to go out on a 12 day school trip to a continent she had never been to just to see some of the amazing things she’d learned about at just 8 years old. It just shows really what a lasting impact the topics we choose as teachers, can have on the children and as I continue this module, I hope to learn more about how I can make the right decisions in order to give the children in my classroom the same lasting impact I have experienced.