To achieve success one must sometimes fail. To learn one has to often struggle. Failure and struggle can be discouraging for some but not for our Year 6 students. A major highlight this week has been the new skill presentations as part of the Year 6 Challenge Award. As part of this challenge, students must identify a new skill and attempt to develop it. The learning experience for our Year 6 students is greatly enriched by the Challenge Award and it was particularly inspiring to observe the growth, pride and sheer enthusiasm demonstrated by our students as they presented.
The range of skills explored was staggering and included areas such Chinese chess, macrames, sign language, planting microgreens, trigonometry, morse code, brazilian jiu jitsu, embroidery and even snowboarding! Students had to explain why they chose a skill, who or what inspired them, what their reflection on the experience was and what their next steps would be.
Here are a few quotes from the student presentations.
Lots of patience and passion are the keys to success. (Chris, 6S)
Practice makes perfect, be independent, try your best and learn to love what you learn. (Harleen, 6M)
I found some of this hard and challenging as there were so many pieces but I think that it did teach me to be more resilient and patient because I made some mistakes when building the structure. (Danae, 6T)
The range of people who inspired the students included, amongst others, Thomas Edison, Eric Clapton and Roger Federer. However, it was interesting to hear some students chose skills because it allowed them to learn alongside friends or family members.
The reflections from students shared the rollercoaster of emotions that occur when learning something new. Students spoke about the importance of remaining patient, the need to never give up and show resilience, as well as, recognising that learning a new skill is not easy. As I listened to our students describe their learning journeys, it left me feeling enormous admiration for them. It reminded me yet again of the incredible levels of humility shown by our students along with their self motivation to learn.
The Challenge Award has been running here at JB for around twenty years and the nature of this school year due to Covid-19 has created additional challenges for our students. Ms Standen, who oversees this initiative, has been instrumental in providing a superb programme which has allowed our Year 6 students to grow personally and deepen their awareness of how learning happens. I must also thank the Year 6 teachers and teaching assistants along with our IT support team, who streamed the presentations live to parents’ homes for the first time. Finally a big thank you to all our parents who supported the children during their learning.
Author: Alan McCarthy, Principal Primary Campus, Alice Smith School