To attempt to ‘get into the shoes’ of your pupils

Aim

To attempt to ‘get into the shoes’ of your pupils in order to try to understand aspects of their culture from the inside.

Evidence and reflection

It is difficult to access the 'culture of childhood' (as Bronwyn Davies terms it in Reading 5.4) especially where it seems very closed and/or opposed to the adult world. Quite often as teachers we put up barriers to understanding children's culture – sometimes because it is threatening in the context of school. For example when the TV series Power Rangers was popular many schools found that they needed to outlaw playground games based on the series because of the physical dangers involved. It is also difficult for us adults to empathise with some of the attractions of certain aspects of children's culture. The following activity is designed to help you to do that.

Select a particular pupil from your class, perhaps one who inhabits a peer culture that you find it hard to understand. Ask a colleague to 'hot-seat' you, in the role of this pupil, asking you questions about your culture, your values, interests, likes, dislikes and friendships. You may find you understand more than you thought you did.

Reverse roles so you can give your colleague the same opportunity.

Extension

This may throw up areas of ignorance about particular aspects of children's culture. List these gaps in your knowledge and proceed to inform yourself more fully about these.