Tuning In

Yesterday was a special privilege for me.

I spent time teaching science with the year 3 children at Stanley Park Junior School.

The children eagerly participated as we talked about different things that make sound and then about vibration, the thing that all sounds have in common. The children told me how vibration works – and I showed them how to see sound, courtesy of a tuning fork and a cup of water. In case you are interested, a middle C tuning fork makes water splash a lot better than a fork tuned to A. This great idea was shown to me by the very creative Julia Benbow. Thanks Julia. We also made lentils jump about, we learned how different materials conduct sound, and we twanged and thumped a few instruments and finished with a short song I wrote about sound, vibration, playgrounds and the enthusiasm of the school kids. We all enjoyed our time together and the children appreciated the song very much.

I have never taught at school before and though I had prepared, I was nervous. I needn’t have been. The kids were enthusiastic, innocent, friendly and frank. It was a pleasure spending time in their company and a useful reminder of some great qualities. I’m sure I learned more than they did.

My time teaching and learning yesterday also reminded me of another very powerful learning experience involving children which I participated in recently. I recently wrote about this experience for Michael Carty at XpertHR who kindly published it today.

On that occasion I learned the importance of being straightforward. Of being confident that the kids would handle and respond well to open questions. They responded brilliantly. Just as kids show frankness, they really seem to appreciate, and thrive on it in return.

It’s a shame but too often in the world of work we forget these simple and powerful qualities that children seem to display so effortlessly. I intend to go back to school more often to learn and relearn these things.

Children are great teachers.