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ICON Seminar 5

Dartington, UK


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Eithne Willis

Last updated August 19, 2013

For me, the idea of a map symbolises the journey I take with my students.

On meeting a student for the first time you know very little about them or they about you, so there is a time where both have to be open and aware and  “find their feet”. This is symbolised by being “all at sea” initially, then establishing a rapport, coming to land together and finally deciding where to go and what route to take. Take for instance a day in the life of a tourist in West Cork. One may want to get out of the remote coastal area immediately and head for the biggest town another may want to explore a small area in greater detail. Yet another may be curious to explore new territory, take a detour, climb a mountain, swim in a lake, take the scenic route, fast track, go hang gliding or pot-holing and there‚s always the one who doesn‚t quite fit our expectations and may prefer to stay at sea and explore life there.  So as you can see the possibilities are considerable, perhaps infinite and you may add to them as you wish!

Another source I’d like to present is a cartoon picture of a mother hen and her chicks called “The Wise Little Hen”. It shows mother hen sitting at the top of the table laden with good food – homemade pies and cakes, corn on the cob and juice – serving soup to her eight chicks who all sit around with napkins tied around their necks and spoons at the ready looking up at her.

This ties in with the work I do with younger students in the junior grades as I feel like mother hen sometimes fussing about, gathering up her chicks, protecting them, and feeding them. The “mother knows best” scenario.

Basically, I feel I over-teach at times and tend to do too much for that age group. I need to step back and listen to them more, I don’t know everything and certainly don’t know what is best for them all the time even though I would like to think I do!


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