At Bealings, we create to understand.
We believe we learn best when:
- there is a real reason for learning something
- because it is enjoyable and intrinsically rewarding
- when we want to learn in order to get better at something in which we are already interested
As Margaret Donaldson, “Children’s Minds” says:
“No-one learns anything by first mastering skills. Children learn in meaningful contexts – by trial and error, and furthermore this learning must be intrinsically rewarding.”
The ethos of the school is that learning and teaching is a co-constructed process enabling high challenge. It is based on the understanding that children learn best when there is a meaningful context for that learning and when the children are self motivated to create meaning and discover solutions.
We see our school as a workshop for experimentation and research, a laboratory for individual and group learning, a place of constructivism.
A place for the alchemic composition of knowledge and desires. A place for perceiving and constructing models of reality.
Everyone deserves a say in what goes on in the school and so there is a weekly school meeting when everyone meets and everyone has the opportunity to raise points for discussion and vote on new proposals.
For the past 20 years, we have been developing realistic learning contexts through Mantle of the Expert.
In 2004 we became the first Training School in the UK for this work.
Since then, we have been delighted and honoured to welcome over 6000 teachers, headteachers, trainee teachers, educationists, students from all over the World for in-service training and study.
We value good behaviour and caring for each other. Please click here to see our behaviour policy – Policies ssffsfsssfffs
The Magic of Learning
At Bealings – 4 tools
- No VOJ (Voice of Judgement)
- Precise observations
- Children posing questions
Creating something which draws the children in.
John Messer, HMI 2005, noted of our children that “they feel impelled to learn”. A magical quality in the room. “The rooms themselves become transformed”. An example: NPK National Park Kenya.
In this place, the Faith of the teacher is paramount and palpable.
She has faith that the children WILL be able to do what they cannot presently do. And she is going to bring the children into an atmosphere of faith that they will be able to do all kinds of things.
She creates a place where the children, through absence of VOJ, and by engaging in her fictional world, are impelled to learn (not compelled).
It is more like fishing than blacksmithing. It is a Natural growth rather than a manufactured one.
When we are in this room of belief, and especially utilising the subtle and alchemical power of MOE (Mantle of the Expert), change really begins to happen.
She partly builds belief by abandoning disbelief. In the drama, the children readily, enthusiastically, are prepared to suspend their disbelief and take on the role of an adult member of a very important organization. Already, we have got rid of some negativity.
Over time we now begin to enter a room where, through the drama, we have temporarily allowed ourselves to free ourselves of constraints and negative “cant’s” and begun to act as if we can!
A journey of a thousand miles has begun with a single step! A shift of belief has happened. “I wanted to be happy in my life and so I decided to be” Neil Baldwin. (Nello in the film “Marvellous”). Do you remember as a child that you could dream of being anything in any time or space and the world was full of possibilities? It still is!
This is vitally important enlightenment: that our happiness is here, now! You live!
In the fictional world, the children, working as part of a successful community, can be successful adults. They act “as if” and increasingly find that they can. In the drama we will begin to behave differently, as responsible, important people, with adult powers, which children want to have.
Now a narrative can begin to be woven, by the teacher AND the children as they bring questions and thoughts to the situation, in the role and out of role.
In role, we know that people are prepared to “behave as if”, and are able to “go beyond themselves”, feeling, empathizing, problem-solving, decision-making in a challenging, positive, communal enterprise which is totally engaging yet able to be stepped away from. They naturally start using specialist language. They can naturally start using another language.
In the minds of the children (and teacher!) the work of the organisation they are running often exists as another realm where tensions, difficulties, triumphs and celebrations are experienced registered in the mind and felt in an almost real way.
Danger and safety exist simultaneously.
Because they are not being judged (though she will be quietly and sensitively aware of their progress and sharing good feedback), the children grow through the various tensions and activities, celebrations of communal effort.
The children awake to their role in highly successful enterprise at the beginning of the term and take on a “mantle of the expert”.
We ARE successful because we ACT successfully.
And as we all know actions speak louder than words.
DB Bealings 2016