How do kids learn something new?
They work with what they know.
When novelty is theirs to view,
It’s then their interests glow.
For every child a different flame,
From different sparks ignited,
When play’s the thing, work’s a game,
And kids will get excited.
So fire them up with hot debate,
Challenge them to think,
Just enough to incubate,
Knowledge at its brink…
. Turn up the temperature; things will churn,
. It’s steam, not water, makes the wheels turn.
© Tim Grace, 30 October 2010
To the reader: Curiosity generates children’s engagement in learning. Harnessing curiosity, shaping it, to meet the needs of education is a challenging task. Playfulness is an indicator of success. Curious children at play, solving open ended problems, is better still. When children learn to direct their playful minds towards solving real world problems then the sandpit has done its job. Schools, the sandpits of learning, need to be alive with meaning and challenge … gritty and real.
To the poet: When framed as a question curiosity is channelled towards a conclusion. At the head of this sonnet is a simply stated question; one that invites the unpacking of what the poet knows about how kids learn. If there’s a message, it’s that learning needs a furnace, a source of heat that challenges children; fires them up to respond with new and creative thinking. The poem is therefore sprinkled with references to heat and light.