Peace At Last
I have a theory that climbing Snowdon is a bit like giving birth - if you remembered how painful and how much hard work it was the first time, you wouldn't be doing it a second!
About 30 minutes from the summit, I asked myself: Why am I putting myself through this?
It's not that I particularly enjoy mountain-walking. It's not even the challenge, as it is something that I have already accomplished. It's the peace and quiet.
For the past few years, my family and I have retreated to North Wales at Easter - away from the constant demands on our lives. Away from the emails being 'pushed' to our mobile devices demanding our attention. And so we escape to Snowdonia, which it must be said, is a bit like going back in time to the 1980's. There's no mobile phone signal where we stay, there's no wifi, shops close on Wednesday afternoons and still sell Double Chocolate Gateaux and Microchips ("Didn't even realise they still made them," remarked my wife. My concern is that they don't).
It is bliss.
Our children today are bombarded with visual and auditory demands for their attention. So how do we, as educators respond to this? We compete. We make sure that our lessons are equally exciting, stimulating and demanding of their attention. We do this so that our pupils show high 'levels of engagement'; but is this what they need?
Instead of competing, could we not be offering something different? Time for reflection, stillness, a pause in their lives. Maybe this is what, as learners, they need. They may even learn best once they have had time for this reflection (and no, I don't mean in a timed 10-minute plenary).
I know I certainly do.
This post was originally written for the Kent Teach Blog on 16th April 2014.