We sit around a table, drinking tea in a relaxed manner, engaging in meaningful conversation about learning and life.
I am participating in my first ‘tea circle’ with a group of 12 year olds and it feels much more like a ‘real life’ experience than like ‘doing school’. Once they are over the initial novelty of the situation, they relax into the conversation, listen and respond to each other naturally and build on each other’s contributions. They talk about what they have learned and how they have grown this year and no-one mentions anything related to content or traditional school subjects.
- I’ve learned to listen to other perspectives… to be open to adapting my ideas based on input from others. (Leo)
- I really understand people better now, because I think about where they are coming from (Amelia)
- I’ve learned to dig deeper and find the roots of an inquiry. (Rosa)
- It’s like an iceberg, you need to be open to the ideas and perspectives that are below the surface. (Eiden)
- I’ve learned to be comfortable in the learning pit, what to do when I’m stuck and how to overcome challenges (Amalia)
- It’s a pity that the lesson sometimes ends while you are still in the learning pit and you have to go to another class. It makes you lose flow.
- I think it would be helpful to learn in mixed age groups, especially for something like art, where you can be inspired by people of any age.
- I’ve learned to take responsibility for my own learning. The teachers trust us in Year 6 (Romy)
- I think teachers would always trust us, but it’s up to you to earn trust; some people cause loss of trust for others. (Eiden)
- We need to be role models for younger students. I’ve learned about leadership. (Eden)
- The way we learn is different this year, it’s less about content and more about understanding ourselves and others. (Amalia)
- The focus is on the explanation, on our thinking… on process. (Rosa)
- For this kind of learning you need self management skills, like organising your time and interacting with others. (Leo)
- If this kind of learning started earlier in our schooling, it would become a norm… (Amelia)
I find myself wondering why we don’t invite learners to the table (literally) more often, as individuals and as equals, rather than as students, to share conversation, stories and insights and to learn from each other.