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As Jerome Bruner died just a few days ago, I was revisiting a 2014 interview: "The main point of teaching and educating" says Bruner, " is to get them [children, learners] to think and share about their notions of 'where this leads'; to go beyond the information given …"
Jerome Bruner (Jerry to friends), dedicated psychologist was fascinated by the dynamic, optimistic processes of human learning, and overjoyed when he first encountered the work and qualities of the preschools of Reggio Emilia some 20 years ago.
Ken Robinson, in a 2013 presentation which happened to be sitting right next to this Youtube recording, also insists: "education is a human system."
They both talk about 'rules of learning': they are principles which we certainly agree with - I think you'll also agree when you listen to them: they are important friends for us to have.
Here they are: get ready for a good dose of clarity and optimism:
Dear Foundation Stage and Primary educators,
The London group invites you to their discussion and development events, and there is an exciting proposal to begin a new network group - or two - in the West Midlands.
The work of the network groups has been very buoyant since the Networks Showcase Day in March, which really showed what can be achieved through the mix of optimism, determination and vision.
All the May and June meetings are open events - the groups are keen for new participation, so if you are interested in developing creative reflective practice in early childhood and primary education do come along.
Today many parents in the UK, particularly in England, are standing up in support of 'the joy of learning for learning' and against the persistent drive to turn schools into places of test-driven instruction. This is a genuine grassroots expression, which has created a groundswell where decades and decades of other informed voices have hit brick walls. Well done, and may it shift sands in the political foundations.
No, children do not need testing "in order to ensure that they learn", as some politicians these past few days have repeated. Dear politicians, that is a miserable mindset which damages children – yes high quality education is vital, but some of you are getting in the way. 'This is not ok anymore' to equate 'testing' with high quality. Stop investing in the grindstone; invest in your children, or if you don't have children yourselves, at least have the decency to listen to those who have and - listen to children. It is not hard, and We will All benefit.
Invest in an education which listens to children – you will get your economic value, don't worry about that. But more importantly, you will be investing in decency and humanity.
Today is a good day to share something of the delights and deep learning which it is possible for us to offer to children in our schools today. Here is a celebratory snapshot of children – and their teachers - learning in intensity and joy in some of our recent projects: