What is self-regulation? Asked my eight-year-old daughter when told that some people have more trouble with self-regulation than others. I immediately recounted a recent behavior she was praised for i.e. her calm demeanor and restraint while witnessing a behavior she did not comprehend. When asked if she was truly not disturbed by it or did she just not show it, she said she was both afraid and a little angry but she kept those feelings in her ‘brain’ and decided to just quietly do what was required. This I told her was an example of self-regulation.
She was reminded of an episode from three years ago, where she led her classmates in a line back to the classroom at the end of a fire drill, only to have created a panic because while she followed the procedure very efficiently she led her classmates to the wrong destination, and not the one advised by her teacher. On realizing this her classmates blamed her. She recalled her emotions when subject to blame and ridicule. She said this taught her not to do the same to others.
The above is a reflective discussion that followed the Edcamp 2016 event she and I had just returned from. During the camp, she was one of two children who co-participated along with around 20 adults. She was given the responsibility of welcoming guests and giving them their name tags.
“Edcamps are organic, participant-driven professional learning experiences for educators across the country and worldwide” states the Edcamp website, an initiative that started in the United States of America. On 22nd October was the first ever Edcamp event organized in Singapore. We started our session with an intent circle where participants gave a brief introduction to themselves and stated their intent for the camp. Very powerful intents were laid out and my daughter’s intent was to teach drawing in a specific style (Japanese anime) she liked.
There was a lecturer who struggled with ideas for helping her students learn without undue focus on grades. There was a new parent who wanted to understand what is out there in the world of education, so she prepares her child for it, there was a young man who wanted inclusion to make more inroads in education and community engagements, and there were experts waiting to lend their expertise yet willing to learn.
We organized ourselves into four groups, one to brainstorm ideas for the young lecturer. The second group learned how to write lyrics for and compose music, the third had a powerful discussion about inclusion, and the last had two willing grown-ups sitting down to learn how to draw from an eight-year-old.
The proceedings were fluid, people wove in and out of groups and at the end met again as a whole group for the recap. The newly empowered musicians presented the song they co-wrote and gave music to. The two younger members were as involved in this as the adults. We then announced the dates for the next four Edcamp events. They are: 25th Feb 2017, 29th April 2017, and 24th June 2017.
At home, I had thanked my little girl for her help and involvement in Edcamp, to which she said, ‘Oh no mummy, that was actually fun, I have never done anything like that before, what about you?”. My reply – “Well actually yes, but you know what none of those events had children participating in it”. And to us, this was the true significance and departure from the norm that our Edcamp represented.
EdCampers Singapore 22 October 2016
Pek Interest: Content, Collaborative spirit, Unconference, Full inclusion
Himal Interest: Unconference, Working with persons with special Rights, educators&families. Listening with compassion.
Kenneth Interest : Music Trainer. Share what I know and learn from others
Manju Interest: Inquiry Curriculum Development. Meeting children’s needs in IB settings, Post Graduate Research
Yi Lin Interest: passion and innovation for teaching, helping learners to learn
Pim Interest: All but mostly children. 20 years of experience
Ana Interest- Special Rights and Documentation. Share ideas
Colin Interest: Community Projects, Strategic planning for sustainability.
Shravan Interest: Physical Fitness
Anu Interest: Communication and New Media.Social and political issues
Navin Interest: Country Ambassador – Singapore; For The UN Disabilities Council
Clara & Baba: Interest: Several topics.
Karen Interest: Passion for bringing out the passive and introducing the joy of communication to children. Public speaking in children.
Sam Interest: Engaging discussions. Listening , learning new skills. Passionate, energetic entrepreneur.
Solonia Interest: Self -directed learning and leadership for positive transformation
Vashima Interest: Life-long learning, Early Years pedagogy, collaborative, community projects
Junior participants below age 10
Keith and Ameya– Interest: Learning beyond classrooms