Sometimes when I talk to new teachers about going outside they tell me of their worries about behaviour; they wonder if it will be harder to control a class once they are no longer contained within the four walls of the classroom. This reminds me of a quote I saw from a 14 year old boy with ADHD. “When I go outside I don’t have ADHD”.
Yesterday I described a lesson about shadows with a Y3 class. My abiding memory of that lesson is of one boy whose behaviour was often described as ‘challenging’. While most of the children stayed close to me throughout the lesson he spent a lot of his time running around the field. I kept my eye on him and was happy not to intervene as he was actually engaged by the subject matter and on task. At one point he ran past our group with some sticks clutched to his head shouting “Look at me Mrs Winter; I’m a reindeer!”
Sure enough, his shadow looked as if it had antlers. Next time he charged past his arm was outstretched and he told me it was an elephant’s trunk. He joined the group to help make the dragon shadow, and he joined in our discussion about how shadows were formed. I was happy that he had learned what I wanted him to during the lesson. I had learned something too; I’d learned a little bit more about this child and his needs.
So often it is not children who are challening in themselves. Rather it is the juxtaposition of their nature and the expectations that we make of them. Although this is my most vivid example, I often found that it was easier to match my expectations to children’s behaviour when we worked outside the classroom rather than when we were confined indoors.