The Learning Pit
The boys are now in full steam ahead with the Exhibition, and it can be quite a bumpy road. At times there are great wins, and they can feel pleased with the progress, be it a response from an email or a great phone conversation, a Skype call or positive mentor meeting. Unfortunately, sometimes it seems as if nothing is working out the way it should. These times of struggle link with James Nottingham’s The Learning Pit.
The Pit is not a great place to be; it is confusing, scary, intimidating, perplexing … the list goes on, however, the deepest understanding, growth and learning happens when you figure the way out of the Pit for yourself. Entry to the Pit is easy; discovering the Central Idea and then engaging with the group’s issue is the welcoming mat. Only then does the challenge begin. Once in, the conflict begins with the boys being challenged to explain their ideas and inquiry in more and more detail. The introduction of more challenging questions from the teachers/mentors may add more confusion before the path begins to clear, as these are there to help focus the learning. The boys are in the murky depths of the Pit, and it’s hard. When we now hear the words ‘I don’t understand’, or this is ‘too hard’, frustration hits. Gradually, through collaboration and questioning of those around them, the boys will piece together the meaning for themselves and construct their understanding of why they were in the Pit in the first place. At last, they will have worked their way through and fully deserve their Eureka moment – clarity, comprehension, satisfaction and relief. This moment is the reward for all the hard work and collaboration that has gone on into getting out of the Pit – Learning is not easy, in fact at times it is just plain hard.
Philip Trethewey – Year 6 Teacher