Here is the news
Keeping youngsters engaged once the exams have passed can be a challenge. Fred de Falbe has some ideas to stave off boredom
As the lazy August days take hold, I am reminded of a previous article I wrote in praise of boredom and inactivity – a response to the trend for tightly controlled holiday schedules for children, driven by the stereotypical Tiger Mothers, who are intent on a royal flush of A levels or an Oxbridge place for their offspring.
I recall, on the suggestion that children should be able to ‘tinker with broken Hoovers’ – which is what we encouraged our own children to do, being contacted by the Dyson Foundation and upbraided in the most genial fashion for referring to vacuum cleaners as Hoovers.
They kindly sent us Challenge Packs and teacher resources in a gesture of goodwill and generosity.
They are brilliant and provide scaffolding and structure to let the ideas run wild – just as school can do, really. Hoover has disappeared into a vortex of tech takeovers; how long will it be before Dyson, with its billionpound business, becomes a transitive verb applied to floors?
So, tinkering as a result of boredom is a good thing. What if there is no challenge pack or broken vacuum? What then?
One of the challenges all schools have is the post-exam drift – possibly the very boredom
talked of above. The Beeston leavers’ programme we run puts paid to that, with a huge range of activities from bushcraft (a week in the wild under canvas), to a Dragon’s Den style activity, to museum visits. The newest addition to this is the DIY BBCstyle report.
The children, in teams of five, were given a crash course in news filming (all cutaways and close ups), a microphone and camera and, of course, some recent copies of the Eastern Daily Press to research stories. And that was it.
The children were given a crash course in news filming (all cutaways and close ups), a microphone and camera
Within minutes they were on the phone, arranging visits and interviews, setting up meetings to film the West Runton house fire, the Sheringham sinkhole and other topical nuggets.
The results: independent newshounds making their own creative ways in the world, without the stricture of the curriculum. And at Beeston this starts young: here is a Year 1 child interviewing the giant (of Beanstalk fame – in fact our wildlooking Latin teacher!) as part of her literacy programme. If school gives the lead to independent endeavour, however wild, definitely do try this at home!
ABOVE: Interview time for the giant from the beanstalk BELOW: The Sheringham sinkhole