Education on the road .
Mr Gove I believe you are mistaken.
I am a professional Clown and Fool. www.passion4laughter.com . I also help my wife run her company Passion4Juice. www.passion4juice.com .
We spend half the year in the UK/Europe and half the year in Australia. We have two young sons: 5 years and 2 years. Most of the time we travel as a family. We are often asked how we do, and plan to deal with, education and schooling for our boys. This is a knotty question for many touring performers, caterers, showpeople of all types.
Here is an enlightening tale of real life on the road in a field.
At the end of last month I was working at Glastonbury Festival. My two sons, Jackpot and Roary, were being cared for by a friend’s partner, Jethro. He did a fine job. Jethro was also looking after Indigo. Jackpot and Indigo have been mates for a few years now. Indigo’s mum, Roxy, also works the festival circuit, so Jackpot and Indigo are festival mates. It’s good to have continuity in our fluid lives.
While at Glastonbury both Jackpot and Indigo did their daily reading according to the National Curriculum and Jethro filled in their reading logs.
Also each day the children busked. They took their bongos, another percussive instrument somewhat like a triangle in a log, a harmonica, a guitar and a bird whistle. As a group, with Jethro looking on, they set up their busking spot, played tunes, and collected money.
They also engaged the public and sold ‘spells’. This involved putting a dot or two of magic sparkly sprinkles on a person’s face and saying a spell to wish them a great festival, or something similar.
I am sure they melted many hearts and inspired a good few minds too. How life can be if we choose not to follow the path most trodden.
I have been a teacher and teacher trainer at times during my life. As an educator I found this daily busking activity exciting.
Howard Gardner’s ‘Frames of Mind. The theory of multiple intelligences’ informs the way I look at learning, and teaching. Instead of assessing school achievement and intelligence through Reading, Writing and Arithmetic (the three Rs), Gardner sees the human potential to be developed as spread into multiple intelligences: linguistic, logical/mathematical, spatial, musical, Bodily-kinaesthetic, interpersonal (between people), intrapersonal (inside ourselves). More at the end for those readers who are interested.
Howard Gardner has questioned the idea that intelligence is a single entity, that it results from a single factor, and that it can be measured simply via IQ tests. He has also challenged the cognitive development work of Piaget. Bringing forward evidence to show that at any one time a child may be at very different stages for example, in number development and spatial/visual maturation, Howard Gardner has successfully undermined the idea that knowledge at any one particular developmental stage hangs together in a structured whole.
During their busking activity the children’s potential for a number of these intelligences was stimulated, used, challenged and improved.
Language most certainly in their songs, their spell creation, their interactions.
Logical/Mathematical in their choice of spot, counting up the money, dividing the money amongst themselves so it was fair. And of course when they were deciding what to spend their earnings on.
Spatial was used in their performances going to and from the audience. Also in their appreciation of what was a good spot; not too busy not too empty.
Musical obviously in their playing instruments, listening to each other to play together (to some extent), and in their singing.
Bodily/kinaesthetic when they were dancing, and casting spells, and using their bodies to express and engage their audience.
Interpersonal when they were interacting with strangers, reading body language, asking questions.
Intrapersonal when they were dealing with their own nerves, excitement, expectations.
The children were happy, proud and extremely motivated by their activity. In fact Jethro had to end the busking each day to ensure the kids just played.
It could be argued that through their busking activities under the safe, caring and watchful gaze of Jethro, the kids had the full potential of their humanity stimulated. All seven intelligences working together and independently.
How dissappointing Mr Gove! To suggest that forced attendance at school is the only path to successful education is short sighted and closed minded.
Please if you have any stories of great learning while on the road, share them. Be it learning for children or learning for adults. 🙂
More detail about the multiple intelligences:
Howard Gardner initially formulated a list of seven intelligences. His listing was provisional. The first two have been typically valued in schools; the next three are usually associated with the arts; and the final two are what Howard Gardner called ‘personal intelligences’ (Gardner 1999: 41-43).
Linguistic intelligence involves sensitivity to spoken and written language, the ability to learn languages, and the capacity to use language to accomplish certain goals. This intelligence includes the ability to effectively use language to express oneself rhetorically or poetically; and language as a means to remember information. Writers, poets, lawyers and speakers are among those that Howard Gardner sees as having high linguistic intelligence.
Logical-mathematical intelligence consists of the capacity to analyze problems logically, carry out mathematical operations, and investigate issues scientifically. In Howard Gardner’s words, it entails the ability to detect patterns, reason deductively and think logically. This intelligence is most often associated with scientific and mathematical thinking.
Musical intelligence involves skill in the performance, composition, and appreciation of musical patterns. It encompasses the capacity to recognize and compose musical pitches, tones, and rhythms. According to Howard Gardner musical intelligence runs in an almost structural parallel to linguistic intelligence.
Bodily-kinesthetic intelligence entails the potential of using one’s whole body or parts of the body to solve problems. It is the ability to use mental abilities to coordinate bodily movements. Howard Gardner sees mental and physical activity as related.
Spatial intelligence involves the potential to recognize and use the patterns of wide space and more confined areas.
Interpersonal intelligence is concerned with the capacity to understand the intentions, motivations and desires of other people. It allows people to work effectively with others. Educators, salespeople, religious and political leaders and counsellors all need a well-developed interpersonal intelligence.
Intrapersonal intelligence entails the capacity to understand oneself, to appreciate one’s feelings, fears and motivations. In Howard Gardner’s view it involves having an effective working model of ourselves, and to be able to use such information to regulate our lives.