Learning, and IATEFL
April 23, 2011 § 8 Comments
“I saw the angel in the marble
and carved until I set him free.”
And so the endless summer continues. I’ve been sitting in the sunshine, reflecting on the myriad of memories from the wonderful weekend in beautiful Brighton, evaluating my hippiness, my business and geekiness. Cool post, Brad!
We’re all basking, it’s beautiful, but water is the secret of life, and I’ve answered the polite requests from my floral friends to quench their thirst, the brazen tulips, the private bluebells, the sky of sociable blue forget-me-nots with a proud yellow dandelion reflecting the scene above.
Haven’t we all just met so many great people and seen so many fantastic talks! I’m positively overflowing with ideas, and it’s as much as I can do to catch them and put them all down on paper lest they blow away for good. Catch them, and water them. As teachers, and last week as learners, it is our job to make these ideas take root and grow.
“Why are diamonds so valuable, dad?” said Freddie, looking at a diamond ring.
Freddie is Edward de Chazal’s 6-year-old son, and Edward told this story to a packed house as part of his IATEFL talk on critical thinking.
“Ah, good question son, diamond is the hardest element on earth, we use it to cut rock and glass, and can make all sorts of things with it. It’s really really strong.”
How we all just love a learner bursting with natural curiosity like this. In my talk, Johanna Stirling from The Spelling Blog, prompted by one participant, was able to enlighten us all as to why it’s “remarkABLE” but “invincIBLE”. “Remark” is a word in itself; not so “vinc”. Thanks Johanna, and to Vladka, Paul and Shelly amongst others for attending.
“Dad, why is that rock like that?” Freddie and family were down in Hampshire on the south coast of England, admiring the huge arches that the power of the sea had carved over millennia. His dad told him all this, no doubt slipping in a few dubious dates about the rocks and the epochs when such huge figures are involved.
Learning is about connecting new things with old. Just like the flowers who would soon start to wilt, we need to water and nourish all our new-found wisdom. I’m sure Jesus’ parable of the sower has not escaped some of your notice this Easter weekend.
It’s innate too, this desire, need almost, to search for associations and try out provisional rules. Children are prime examples, as are eternally youthful teflers. I say innate, because no-one forced us to endure five full days of mayhem. Just like no-one had forced little Freddie to be pondering away to himself as they were all strolling over the rolling hills next to the sheer cliffs, so that he’d blurt out:
“So dad, which is stronger, diamonds or the sea?”.