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Inside Teaching : August 2010
Inside Teaching | August 2010 10 THINGS I'VE LEARNED ABOUT TEACHING 22 8BE INVOLVED IN BOTH SIDES OF THE MENTORING PROCESS We’ve all been mentored formally and informally by colleagues and supervisors. I enjoy having student teachers in my classroom and believe we have a professional responsibility to share and collaborate with the next generation of educators. The gift of fresh energy and enthusiasm is more than enough payment for my time and resources. As well as mentoring, I look for people who have knowledge in areas I can develop within myself and seek them out for their ideas and wisdom. 9CHOOSE HUMOUR I’ve found that a light touch can often be an effective learning tool in the classroom. Small children have a wonderful sense of the ridiculous, and my students and I spend many hours giggling about humorous stories, jokes and songs. Working with adults can also be sweetened by humour and a sense of the hilarious. As a young teacher, I was very self-conscious when other adults were in my classroom. One day, I was with the children on the foor exploring the movement of caterpillars and ‘humping along’ singing ‘Fuzzy Wuzzy Caterpillar.’ I looked up and saw some early arriving parents doubled over laughing. I fgured it was unlikely I’d ever look sillier, and haven’t been concerned since then. 10 SIT IN THE SANDPIT Children learn through play: it’s their business and anything that is fun is also play. If I sit in the sandpit and share the experience of baking a sand cake I can expand my young cooking companion’s learning through thoughtful conversation. These learning conversations are vital tools for the development of new ideas and concepts. As an adult working with young children, I enter into their play experience in order to extend and enrich it. Small children delight in sharing their play world with adults. My teaching is effective when it makes sense to them and can become embedded in their thinking processes and their personal story. Fiona Farren teaches Kindergarten at South Bunbury Primary School, Western Australia, and facilitates the Linking Education and Families (LEAF) program, which she developed to build and maintain pathways and partnerships between the school and the community. In 2009, she received the WA Department for Communities Children’s Week Outstanding Individual Award. Her LEAF program partners Investing in Our Youth and the WA Department of Education received the 2009 Rural and Remote Partnership Community Award. She also received a 2009 National Excellence in Teaching Award for Community Engagement. In June 2010 Fiona received a grant from Royalties for Regions funding to create a multimedia package for schools outlining exemplary ideas for the development of effective school and community partnerships in the early years. Pictured, Fiona Farren and South Bunbury Primary School Kindergarten children and parents. Photo courtesy of Henderson Photographics. LINKS To fnd out more about LEAF, visit www.investinginouryouth. com.au/Updates