Taking the Grade 4 students for a walk around the neighbourhood, as always, turned out to be a remarkably simple yet incredibly powerful experience for us all.
With enough adults to be able to split the class into small groups of three and four, it was possible to go in different directions and focus on different aspects of life as we walked around. Students need to learn the “art of looking” and really benefit from being given a specific lens to look through when doing something like this. My group had selected the lens of “globalization” as their focus. Naturally, they found it hard to “see” globalization and that is where the role of the adult/teacher becomes so important. As we walked, I was able to help them see the evidence of globalization, such as Coca Cola signs and bottles, the rubbish caused by the packaging of multinational companies, Japanese cars and motorbikes, international construction companies and so on.
By the end of the walk, because the students had the chance to actually look for, and see, the evidence of globalization, their understanding of such a complex concept was much more advanced than it would have been if they were simply researching it on Google!
It is so important to give our students these experiences. The learning experiences they have just from something so simple are powerful on many different levels, as long as we, as their teachers, are aware of how multi-faceted learning actually is. I will list here just a few aspects of the learning I saw:
- Increased conceptual understanding of globalization
- Increased awareness of where they live
- Increased ability to look for details and notice things
- Increased curiosity about life
- Increased ability to make connections to prior knowledge
- Increased confidence about being out on the streets
- Increased willingness and ability to speak to people
- Increased understanding of how to ask questions
- Increased understanding of how to take a good photo
- Increased understanding of the etiquette of photographing people
- Increased understanding of how to take notes
- Increased resilience when walking in the heat
So, are you taking your students out and about soon?