This post is written by Regan Hughes, a Year 3 Candidate Teacher enrolled in the BTP degree. The post reflects on his learning during our recent BTP Whānau morning focused on building connection across our cohort and with our local education providers.
As a teacher, igniting passion and inspiring children to love learning is the foundation for which I exist. Experiencing Cape to City and Enviroschools facilitators speak about nature connectedness and how to utilise the outside resources around us in our teaching, has made me question my own teaching practice, and provided me diverse ideas for my teaching kete.
The big ‘take-aways’ for my kete:
Bonding the ‘Ako’ community.
By extending the learning beyond the confining walls of a classroom, learners and teachers alike are provided with opportunities to share their knowledge of the outdoors. A teacher with little outdoor experience (such as myself) may have some students in their class who are regularly involved in hunting, hiking and other outdoor interests. The idea of a level playing field allows students to share their own knowledge or experiences of learning in nature and step up as leaders.
Developing a sense of wellbeing – how nature captures children.
As mindfulness and meditation increasingly become an important aspect of a number of classroom timetables, finding ways to capture that sense of wellbeing can often positively impact children’s mental health and help to alleviate the stresses of a school environment. To demonstrate how nature captures children’s interests, we were taken through a mindfulness activity in which we were given the opportunity to simply experience nature and think of words that describe our personal experience. Focusing on my plant, I noticed a sense of holistic connection between the plant, spider webs and creatures.
Promoting kotahitanga (unity/one-ness)
Cooperation and community share a governing role in creating a strong sense of unity. By providing opportunities to work collaboratively and share ideas about nature, everybody is inspired to work towards a common goal. We were assigned a task in which each group had to replicate the life cycle of the case moth using only the materials provided. While the interpretations of the life cycle varied from visual art to drama and all sorts of other ideas, kotahitanga was an active necessity in achieving the desired outcome without descending into chaos.
A strong theme I have noticed throughout writing this blog post is opportunity. I believe that this encompasses the kaupapa of fostering a generation of people who know how to think and act in nature. The opportunities that nature provides for educational inspiration and teaching opportunities are immense, and by inspiring children to care and igniting a passion to be advocates for nature, the opportunities will continue to be endless. By utilising Kotahitanga, developing a sense of wellbeing and bonding the ako community, “small things in nature can lead to big learning opportunities.”
Naku te rourou,
nau te rourou,
ka ora ai te iwi
With your basket and my basket the people will live.