Jumping out of our archive today was the “Galileo – and still it moves” project. This involved working with a group of year 5 children to explore the planets and in doing so, develop their literacy skills: particularly their speaking, listening and writing skills.
We started off by exploring Galileo and what he went through when he challenged the orthodoxy of the day ie the sun revolving around the earth, rather than the other way around. Of course, many of the adults in the room explained to the children about how terribly he was treated and what a genius he was and how he suffered for his knowledge. All of which is no doubt true.
Although perhaps it’s not. One of interesting moments was when a young boy, when being told by a teacher that Pluto was a planet, challenged the teacher with the recent finding that Pluto was not longer deemed a planet but a dwarf planet, or a rock cluster of minor significance or just a large ice pack or something to that effect (who knows?!) Mr Teacher then responded to the challenge that as far as he was concerned, Pluto had been a planet when he was at school, still was a planet, and would be for the rest of his days.
The irony of Mr Teachers response was of course not lost on the Year 5 boy who sat through the rest of the lesson with a slightly bemused look on his face. What we deem as knowledge is as uncertain and as flaky as it was in Galileo’s day.
So, what’s been your Galileo moment?
More details about the Galileo project here.
Reasons 53 – 83: Answering the questions of your 10 year old self
We go back to school and invariably revisit our youth and think why do we do what we do? What would we do differently? And what would we say to ourselves if we met ourselves in the playground?
If we’re working in education, we have the added questions of what does this practice tell us, are there ideas or approaches I can adapt? What would happen if? What might happen if not? We might alter our practice and question our stance – quite subtly though, and not necessarily in a way which would merit the attention of head teachers, inspectors or distant academics – but which might be noticed by the young lad sat in front of you, day on day, week on week. He might notice a slight change of emphasis in your tone; the girl next to him may notice a slight momentary doubt creep into your voice when asserting something you think you have known true for years. She will spot your Galileo moment when all that was constant is no longer so and the certainties you had before, are no longer quite as certain.
These are all useful, productive forms of educational transformation. Frequently off the authorities’ radar, their effects bring about life changing moments for your students, about which neither you nor them will know anything of for at least 30 years.
And what would you say to yourself if you met yourself in the playground 30 years ago? “Don’t worry.” Would be a good start; although you may not listen to yourself.
More here on how you can bring about major educational transformation in the microscopic of ways here: http://www.aspirecreativeenterprises.com/ACE/aof_rio.html
More on our travel partners here: http://www.govie.co.uk/events/