Monday, February 25, 2013

Interest based learning: A reflection on facilitation

 Sophia drew a very elaborate picture with markers on the floor on Sunday morning.

"This is our house", she said, pointing, "And this is patti's house". She drew three figures inside the house "This is Mummy, Anjali and Sophia". Then she drew a road and a box. We are going to the zoo.

"Where are all the animals", I asked.

"They are inside the zoo. You cant see them"

Sophia has recently taken to giving very elaborate stories about her drawings and when questioned about apparently missing parts, replying that these parts are covered/ on the other side etc. A most notable one was a drawing of a ship where a dragon perched on the crow's nest. When asked where the dragon was, she painted the whole thing gray and said that the dragon burnt the crow's nest and therefore it is all gray with ash.

So this time, instead of questioning, I brought over the plastic animals set.

The kids then spent a happy half an hour playing zoo

 Which led to some very creative crafting.
Here is Anjali who has just proudly finished a tree. The tree is made out of cardboard roll and some green paper cut in the shape of leaves.

I had previously set out the same activity "Lets make a tree", with green paper and cardboard rolls as an invitation to play a couple of months ago. At that time, the tree was barely touched, and I cleared it up, unfinished after a couple of days. So I was very surprised when Anjali took the initiative to make a very similar craft for her zoo.

Upon reflection, I am now able to make the distinction between grounded and ungrounded learning. A cardboard roll and green paper to make a tree results in a beautiful craft. But thats it. Its a beautiful craft. However, the same thing in the context of a zoo becomes a prop for play. Doesnt matter that Anjali chose to put it in the nature table later. It was a prop for play and therefore the activity had a context in which it was grounded. Even more so, this context was child driven - the idea of making the zoo came from them. This, I think, is an example of a successful interest based learning session.

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