Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Not thinking

We had a class of very young children from a local special school touching things in St Nicolas’ yesterday.

They had come on a short visit (the length of the visit determined by their attention and behaviour spans) to hand over a cheque, a donation in lieu of the fee 'earned' by a member of the congregation for a musical event he’d led at their school. That is worth recording in itself.

The teacher was relieved that we’d got the message that they learnt by interacting rather than by reasoning, and that we were not precious about what we let them feel. One of them spent a little time caressing the stem of the huge brass lectern. Many of the kneelers had to be returned to their home positions once the children had gone (and I still can’t work out to where one of them should go back). Some of the children helped make a surprisingly effective brass rubbing by scribbling away with the wax sticks rather than by firm strokes with them.

But how I wanted to explain to them the things they touched! It reminded me of my introduction to 'learning styles' at an inner city church - the facilitator encouraging people to get stuck straight in making a model which represented their view on a topic she gave them, and I sat their perplexed as to how that could be done without first thinking through what they wanted to say.

We came across the toad on our visit to Hull on Saturday, and it is a genuine reference to the work of Philip Larkin their local poet.

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