Monday, 4 January 2016

A mountain biking analogy...

Over the summer, I have been learning to ride clipless pedals (quite the opposite to what the name suggests - they mean you are clipped in and attached to the bike). It's not a particularly difficult thing to do, until you forget to unclip yourself and so consequently you, and your bike, just topple over. I haven't failed - yet - but I'm assured it will happen almost certainly at a red light surrounded by traffic. 

Part of this 'training' is to ride my bike a lot - and coming from a cycling family I'm encouraged to do so and have company on my rides. Dad does a bit of riding and is therefore much faster than I am. I went out riding with him yesterday and had a great morning dodging trees and sandy corners at the bike tracks. 

It was here that I was put into the shoes of a learner. Not learning so much, but practising and refining my technique (and fitness). I had much less speed than dad and as I was breaking the still silence of the bush, panting along, I thought about how those students who need extra time on task feel. You see, dad would head off and do his own thing and then stop and wait for me. Nice of him, but when he saw me coming he would take off again and I would continue to plod along. He got a break to get his breath back, have a breather and prepare himself for the next bit. Something he probably didn't need, but exactly what I needed. A chance to stop and recoup, refocus and carry on. It made me wonder how I best serve these 'speeds' of learning in the classroom...

  • Do I effectively allow those 'speedy' kids to keep going without being held back? How do I do that effectively?
  • Am I giving enough time for development to those who need extra time?
  • Am I allowing them chances to stop and rest too? OR am I using the 'speedy' kids rest time as a catch up time (meaning they don't get a break at all)?
  • Is it ok to need extra time? If not, why not? Will the two speeds end up at the same place?
It's something that's often talked about but as I go into this year, I want to make sure that all children get that chance to have a break. It is known that it's necessary for all development. 

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