When children lead learning

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What happens when children lead their own learning?

The Year 5 girls participating in the Girl Guardians mentoring program are currently undertaking an Appreciative Inquiry, allowing them to pose complex questions, reflect on their knowledge, consider new perspectives, and dream big.

This dynamic learning and teaching process allows students to have a voice, which is valued, nurtured and developed during each session. They are able to follow their own curiosity, think diversely and create the change they believe is important.

The role of the mentors during this program is to coach the girls and support them through the process of self-directed learning, as well as enhancing student wellbeing. Mentors listen actively and provide mindful attention and constructive feedback during each session. They ask open-ended questions, encouraging the girls to self-reflect and build on their ideas according to their initial goal.

As the Inquiry develops, the girls have been using hexagonal thinking to identify the interrelationships between their ideas and their big-picture goals. They are scaffolding their dreams using the design process, considering the how and the why. The purpose of their design ideas are to align them with their core values, and the values of the School.

The integration of the Inquiry and design processes, led by the girls’ curiosity, empowers their voice and draws on their character strengths. The process also provides the girls with the opportunity to develop their self-regulation and build perseverance when divergent thinking becomes complex.

Through empowerment comes increased motivation, confidence and self-concept – their voice is important, their ideas are valued, and their dreams are significant. The energy and resulting rich conversations make the room buzz with excitement, and shared achievements are always celebrated.

The mentors and I have been overwhelmed with the development the girls have made cognitively, socially and emotionally through the first part of this program. We can’t wait to see where they might flourish next.