A Teacher’s Reflection

Elyse is a teacher from Holy Family Catholic School. She has kindly shared her documentation with us. Thank you Elyse for having the courage to share with others. After reading Elyse’s story you might like to share your thoughts below.

This year my aim is to work to see my students as capable learners where all their strengths and abilities are valued. I feel that once the children and students feel they belong and their needs are being met this is when they will blossom, become engaged and express themselves through their learning environment.

How Learning Happens

We must see our students as capable and we as teachers are the ones that can set up and guide the students toward this by creating an environment in which they feel they belong, their needs are catered for and in turn they will be engaged.

My experience of this today was with one of my students, and her interest in bugs. She shared this with some other students, who then went looking out the back of our classroom for bugs. Some schools may have not allowed this to occur but I’m so happy that I am at school that honours student’s creativity.  The amount of learning, discussions, team work that came from this one action was amazing.

Other students joined this inquiry and before we knew it there were 8 or so students joining her. As the other students joined in their conversation was brilliant, they were discussing what the bugs would need to live, how they could care for them, how many legs they had, and finding food. Even designing a “home” for them to live in. They were communicating, sharing their ideas and working together constructing knowledge.

The students reflected:

We are working together with my friends to find millipedes. Because they are cute, we look for baby ones as well.  I’m going to look after them, make a home. I need cardboard to make beds for them.”

Other students respond:

  • “They need food to live.”
  • “They also need water we can put water on the leaves, a little bit on the leaves for them to drink.”
  • “We can try and tame them”
  • “That’s hard to do it takes lots of practice.”
  • “They need room to move around, we will put holes in the box so they can breath.”
  • “Be careful with them they are delicate. They  have 100 legs,”
  • “No I think it is over 100”
  • “No I think they have 68 legs”
  • “You can’t count them though it is too hard.”
  • “We get to look after them and feed them, I love that you let me do it with my friends.”
  • “We now want to research bugs what they eat, what they do what they eat.”
  • “We can use the computer and I used my Mum’s computer to search millipedes, I even saw fire millipedes.”
  • “We can even write a book on millipedes.”

The students then asked if they could use the laptop and undertook their own research on millipedes.

This type of learning is enriching allowing the third teacher, the environment, to take over and lead the students on a collaborative inquiry. It makes the students views, ideas feel valued.

The student’s evaluation:

I felt happy because I had my friends working beside me.”



  1. Elyse – how absolutely delightful! I can feel the sheer joy of learning in the students collaborative experience. A wonderful example of authentic learning.
    I can’t help wondering how many legs does a millipede have!!!

    Thank you for your great generosity in sharing your professional journey!

  2. Thank you Elyse! I really enjoyed reading this and could feel the joy of learning coming through. Your comment about being in a school that honours creativity really struck a cord. I wonder how many people can say that?

    I work with teachers in Tasmania and would really like to use this example to inspire them to see the connection between the wonder of the child and the curriculum.

    Like Tina I am intrigued thinking about how this might progress and all of the learning that would occur. Thank you again for sharing.

  3. Dear Elyse
    Huge thanks for sharing your reflection
    I value the richness of your experience and insights and the comments of the children offer so much. It seems to me that the comments of the children form an important part of the Documentation. As a teacher I found myself thinking about the possibilities within the children’s comments for educative contexts. I am not sure which way I would go, it will all depend I guess on the big ideas and curriculum outcomes I need to head toward with the children but the potential and the motivation is so much already with the children…and the knowledge. I appreciate co construction you can see it in your reflection, I can also feel your satisfaction as a teacher, THANK YOU SO MUCH

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