Reflections on Learning
I believe as you do that all human beings are created in the image of God. This is basic, but what does it mean? We’ve often seen how a warm wax can be stamped with an image. Human beings are stamped that way, with God’s image. Distorted that image may be, it is still real and important. Like God every human being is relational, wanting to connect and share an experience. To do this we use various languages. When we use words, we call it language arts; and, when we draw, dance, make music, or drama we apply every capacity to say, “I saw this”, or “I felt like that”, or “I’m like this”, and so on.
The human imagination is also part of God’s image in us. Unlike any other creature, we can imagine how things could be and bring to life through images, scenarios, sounds, and movement. Children are so wired to do this that they do it constantly and spontaneously. They are sharing their experience, their observations, the content of their imagination, and the feelings of their hearts.
Imagine a child born with a cart they drag behind them. Perhaps that child is yourself. Label that cart “My Identity”. Only the child can put things in that cart, the defining experiences of life. As children grow and share they develop a sense of connectedness and belonging. They can be influenced and they can influence other. A child knows they belong when they matter enough to share observations, music, dance, and drama. That identity cart can soon be full of stuffed animals representing heritage, family, faith, and ability. “I am a child of God” we would often tell our children, “and the evil one can’t touch me”.
Created in the image of God makes us creative and expressive. When we know who we are, and whose we are, we can hear that God calling us by name. We are moved to worship. Everywhere in the Bible, we find poetry and song. “Let everything that has breath praise the LORD”, says the Psalmist. This especially includes children. Worship Arts are a key way that children can participate in the life of a church. They make a difference put into that cart, “I make a difference”.
Formal training really helps. Training develops talent, rarely is talent enough. Formal training enhances the power of a child to express themselves. For example, something as simple as how expression changes when on a piano the right hand becomes louder than the left can be powerful. This must be learned through time, coaching, and practice. While the child is young their brains are said to be “plastic”, that is, mouldable. The brains of musicians are able to track pitch and pace with exquisite perfection. The brains of visual artist see details that the rest of us miss. Actors perceive the feelings of others by the way they move and become alarmingly good at imitation. As a person becomes an adult they can still gain capacities, but it takes longer and requires more effort for the same gain. So the time to learn music, dramatic and visual arts is in childhood.
I have taught children with defiant and broken spirits. They are in conflict with all those around them. I have seen can take place when a simple horn is placed in their hands. And after a few lessons, they seem briefly transformed, as they inhabit the instrument and say to the world, I am here, take me in, I want a place in your universe. To teach your children well is to teach them the arts. Proverbs 22:6 says, “Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it”.
Dates and Resources
What I'm up to
My goal this week is to be in touch with each one of you in some way, be it through email, phone or SeeSaw. I want to thank everyone for their great dated samples of student work. I trust the government will be pleased. <Wry expression> All of you have signed off on the SLP, and for that I am thankful.
Tasks for You
- Writing samples: It is important that I receive samples of writing. For younger students this might mean making letters, and as children learn they make words, sentences, paragraphs, narratives, essays, poems, songs, novels and reports. Please send examples of what your children are currently able to write.
- Foundation Skills Assessment for Grade 4 and 7. You will receive a package. Just to the tests as outlined in the instructions. Some people make the tests out to be more important than they are. They are a sort of intensive survey. Your individual results can vary on any given day, but they do provide parents, schools, and the Ministry of Education invaluable information for how we are doing. Please do participate. Participation can also be a learning experience for both youth and parents.
Dates and Links: November 23-- Term Ends
I am using SeeSaw and gathering information for report cards until November 23, which is the end of the term. I will begin writing report cards on November 12 based on what you have uploaded. Where there is enough data to write a report card I will alert you so that you can send in additional information. In most cases when there is a problem in the report card it is not due to lack of learning but due to a lack of communication and reporting. Please send lots of school work into SeeSaw. Some of you are sending a lot of pictures of outings and activities. These are great, but please do not send only that. I need to see what the learners are able to do. In the case of computer-based learning, pictures of the screen can be an excellent way of recording progress.
You may be interested in my recommended resources page. I only add to these resources when I see a learner has done well using it within the BC curriculum. I hope to add a few more links this year.