Don’t you go accusing me…

…of being the support agent for schemes of work or schemes of learning but what happens if we do not have some sort of long term plan for the learning journey? It is always possible to stretch a metaphor, such as learning being a journey too far but let’s think of a journey from London to Birmingham, with and without an overall plan.

Journey one has a detailed set of directions, including the time for each part, things to look out for en route, petrol stops etc. I am sure you can  see how this journey would work well and also the pitfalls of traffic jams, punctures etc and how this could relate to learning. We would get to Birmingham and we would have seen what was planned to see. Perhaps we lost some of the romance and serendipity of a less focused trip.

Journey two has no such plan. We know only that we are starting in London and ending in Birmingham. We are more 1960s hippy type folk for this odyssey. We get on the road, eventually, late as we forgot to get the neighbour to agree to feed the cat in our absence. Also had to stop at the first petrol station, which is a bit off our direct route to Birmingham. Should have filled up last night. Hey ho. Kids are getting a bit feisty as we did not pack the sweets and the colouring books. Ok, short second diversion to the shops to stock up! Already a bit after than we wanted to be but away we go. Did we turn the central heating off???? Yep, of course we did. Didn’t we?

Lots of interesting distractions on this journey as we take to a bit of off-roading to visit a field of cows that took the kids’ interest.

I think, to continue the metaphor, you get where we are going with this.

On journey one we got to Birmingham, on time but it was not a great journey as we did not allow for any diversions whatsoever. Marks out of ten?

On journey two there was interest and we got a lot done but we did not get too far into our trip to Birmingham. If we still have to complete the journey what do we leave out form our list of journeys we must do?

Teachers have to make these types of decisions all the time. Journey one type learning or journey two type.

Let me make a small plea for some journey one thinking. But to explore this I want to digress to teaching dogs. I have two gorgeous Belgian Shepherd dogs, Merlin and Carlos. Love ’em to bits.

I am currently training them to spin around when I make a spin type hand movement. So we work in the kitchen which has less distractions than the living room with its cats and garden views outside of the rabbits and pheasants. Merlin first. Lure him with a tasty treat and when he follows my hand he gets a treat. Do this a few times until it is reasonably secure with a treat. Then to Caros. Same process. By the way, Merlin, at the end of training session one was not great at doing the spin on command. Note that please and also note that I did not push it too much but I did carry on with the training plan. Just because he could not do the spin on command was not used as a reason to deviate from the plan. Important that will be – to misquote Yoda!

After a short rest for me and the dogs back to Merlin. Wow Merlin can now almost do the spin on command. Remember, when we left him he could not. The delay has allowed his brain to sort out what he was meant to learn.

Sometimes we have to keep to the learning plan even it *appears* to not be working. Perhaps it has to be like this.

Trust The Process – as folk I have trained with will know is a mantra of mine. Trust The Process.

Journey one or journey two?

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