My ‘conscious’ efforts to teach literacy to Year 2
I WAS teaching literacy in year two last week and we were focused on writing.
The children had been enthralled by the adventures of ‘stick man’ the day before, in Forest Schools, and we were beginning the process of writing about it.
As adults we can easily forget how complex this is for young children. They have to think about so many of the elements: holding the pencil, forming the letters, making the words, basic punctuation and staying on the line. And that is all before they have had to think about the content; what they are going to write about.
Most adults can write without thinking about the process as an ‘unconscious competence’ and cannot remember moving from ‘unconscious incompetence’ (when we didn’t know that we couldn’t do it) through ‘conscious incompetence’ (when we knew we couldn’t do it) through to ‘conscious competence’ (when we could do it when we thought hard about it).
Children are often at this stage as learners at school.
Do you remember when you were learning to drive? Reversing out of a space in a supermarket car park, when in ‘conscious competence’, involved so many elements to think about that it was no wonder you had left the shopping on the roof of your car and couldn’t quite understand why the cars behind you kept swerving and flashing, and the road seemed to be littered with squashed baked bean cans.
Anyway, my ‘conscious competence’ young writers were in process.
We all had our eyes closed, heads down, thinking about ‘the further adventures of Stick Man’, when the door opened and a little voice sliced through the silence, saying “Can we have Toni and Erin for extra reading?”
Off these two went, knocking over a pile of books into a water bottle on the way. We had just recovered our poise when there was another knock. We just had to look at the brilliant leaf printing of two beaming young artists from year one.
The next few minutes were spent in admiration of these, admittedly excellent, multi-coloured creations.
I pressed on, slipping from conscious competence into the one below when the door swung open again. “Can we tell everyone about a cake sale on Friday?”
gave them 37 seconds.