A little about me and why I created Big Questions
My name is Heidi and my story starts many moons ago during my own education. I do not remember much from my own primary years at school but I do remember my secondary years.
I remember having a keen interest in dance and PE. I attended dance classes outside of school and was part of the local swimming club. I enjoyed my time at dance class especially and was privileged to have performed on stage at the London Palladium, meet celebrities and spend time with like-minded people. Due to this enjoyment I wanted to gain a qualification in them at school, it didn’t matter to me at that age what I was going to do as a career, what I wanted to do after school, I just knew I enjoyed it and wanted to spend more time doing it.
When it came to selecting subjects for my GCSEs I immediately decided I wanted to pursue dance, drama and PE, however the advice I was given was to take a language, choose something more academic and was questioned as to what I was going to do with dance, drama and PE. Based on the advice, I chose French, history and geography, 3 subjects that couldn’t be further from what I wanted if I tried but I did my best and achieved acceptable grades.
Looking back now, I wish I had taken the advice on board but trusted my own choices and learnt about my interests and my hobbies. Would I be a professional dancer or actress now? Who knows. But what I do know is that I would have enjoyed those years rather than resented them.
Moving on a few years to completing my degree I became more and more aware of the challenges faced by teachers to ensure children were meeting certain criteria with regards to the National Curriculum.
The pressure applied to teachers was so harsh that to steer away from the Curriculum, even for a short while, was a big no no! This often left me feeling like the children were learning skills that were important to their education but only to achieve certain milestones within the education system.
If you have ever been in a classroom setting you will quickly notice how much talking the teacher does compared to the children. Yes, the children may have talk partners or teachers may ask a direct question to the children but unless the children are genuinely interested in what they are learning, they will turn to their friend for a chat instead. Children are rewarded for working in silence yet it has been proven by learning theorists that children learn best when they can talk. Talking helps to regulate ideas.
Children are known to be inherently inquisitive and curious. They often explore their curiosity by asking questions as this helps their understanding, yet we find it common place that this is being suppressed for most children during their school day.
My journey into becoming a primary school teacher has led me to have the vision I hold now. I want to create a safe and non-judgemental environment where children are encouraged to explore the big questions they have, enable them to learn about their interests and empower children to make decisions about their life.