Light the way, don’t walk for them

Recently I found myself pondering the delicate balancing act that is supporting and scaffolding student learning. It’s important you know when to step back and let students take the reins.

When does handholding become too much, you ask?

When a teacher trims their worksheets with a guillotine, kids don’t learn how to cut straight lines and to line things up neatly when gluing in.

If adults dictate what colour should be used, what shape should be formed, and what size is required, children are robbed of their own creativity and originality in art lessons.

When a teacher prints a diagram off the internet and asks their class merely to label it, that teacher has missed out on the chance to discover which kids understand scale, which kids can use shading to create depth, which kids have a natural eye for observational drawing.

If adults consistently rule up pages for children, micro manage children’s stationery and equipment, tell children precisely when to put on their jumper, take off their jumper, eat their sandwich, drink their water… I feel that they are indeed missing the whole point of what school is for.

Ultimately, if educators always assume that their students are not developmentally ready for something and therefore never give them the chance to even try, (to save time, to make it easier, to scaffold, to make sure it’s done right), how exactly will these students ever be given the skills to be able to do it for themselves?

You can give a child a fish and feed them for a day, or teach them how to fish, and feed them for life.


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