The learning scenario “School uniforms, yes or no?” was created by Željka Starčević from Croatia and implemented by the Portuguese teacher of English Maria de Fátima Silva.
Learning from art
In order to improve my classroom dynamics, Željka’s Learning scenario was the perfect opportunity to start addressing school issues.
I chose the featured image used to illustrate the learning scenario, Boy with a wheelbarrow, Ernst Josephson. My year 7 students (11-12-year-olds) were about to recall past learnt information by speculating about the boy in the painting. As I was planning the activities, some questions arose in my mind:
- Would my students be able to tell, just by looking at the painting, whether the boy was shy or outgoing?
- What judgement would they make about the boy’s character on the basis of facial expression, clothing and posture?
- Would they be able to activate the information they had learnt and speculate about the story behind the painting?
Active recall in action
The students built a word cloud on the board. And they even came up with the magic word I needed: uniform, as it would be the clue for the next chapter.
However, there was still something to be done: learn about the life of others. So, the students quickly used the Internet on their mobile phones and gathered information to write a short fact file about the artist.
Building new Connections
When the time came, the students formed four groups (four or five students in each group) and started to use the school tablets and read QR codes. They worked collaboratively. Thus, they built connections with previous knowledge and the information they were gathering. It became clear to them that the data had to do with wearing uniforms. However, they still had to share ideas in the group and fill in their handouts collaboratively.
They absorbed the information about uniforms in different countries and they even started to make connections with the school stories their grandparents had told them.
The implementation of this learning scenario gave us the opportunity to create a more lively environment in the classroom. There was more vocal intensity. However, the students were actively taking part in class, developing their digital, critical thinking and social skills.
Collaboration in action
Some handled the tablets better than others while others were more able to understand the whole information in English. As some were more organised than others, they were the ones who took notes. In the end , they all learnt from each other. So, they all drew upon the strengths of each member to complete the tasks assigned for the lesson.
Learning from family members, friends and teachers
The advantages and disadvantages of wearing a uniform
Family members and teachers helped the students with stories from when they were attending school. Siblings and friends gave their opinions.
Students reported the questions which came up when they interviewed their families, friends and teachers:
- How much does it cost to families?
- What identity does it create for a school?
- Does it help students take pride in their appearance?
- Does it prevent peer pressure and/or consumerism?
Last but not least
To wear or not to wear a uniform?
The debate promoted speaking skills, retention of information learnt, as well as respect and collaboration.
Did you find this story of implementation interesting? Why don’t you read about the related learning scenario: School uniforms, yes or no? by Željka Starčević
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