By Jude Foulston
I was chatting with a friend the other day who has just started a teaching position at a new school. It's different from where she's come from and I was interested to know how she was transitioning into her new role and environment.
She started telling me how the new headmaster loves asking the question 'why', and how this simple question catches her, many times, every single day.
Like when she was making the children line up after their break time. They would run (we're talking grade 2's here) wild from the playground, having just spent an awesome 20 minutes tearing around playing, only to have to come to a sudden halt, line up, keep quiet and head the 10 metres back to class in crocodile formation.
The headmaster happened to be walking past and wanted to know why... why the kids had to get into a line first. Her response? Because that's how I've always done it.
Because they're excited and talk and are noisy on their way back to class.
So what's wrong with kids talking and being noisy, they've just been playing for 20 minutes and that's a good sign that they've had fun isn't it?
Well... shouldn't they be quiet and orderly when they enter the classroom?
Why? Why can't they just get called from the playground, enter the classroom and know that by the time they get to their desks they need to have settled down?
She realized that he had a point, and now the kids happily run from the playground, get to their classroom and settle down at their desks with no lines, or crocodile formation on the way. They also have an extra 5 minutes at their desks instead of sorting themselves out in a line first.
Just because we ask the question doesn't mean we're acknowledging that we're doing something wrong, it just means we're questioning what we're doing. Questioning if there's perhaps a better way. If there's a valid reason for what you're doing, then carry on. If there's no value in what you're doing, then why not change it!
Why not ask this simple question 5 times a day for the next week and see what happens....