You can never know when your best ideas are going to strike. But you can be fairly sure it won’t be when you’re sat at a desk waiting for inspiration.
So, how do we harness these fleeting thoughts? A simple solution is to keep a notebook handy. And if you can’t have that with you when out and about, try to make a note of your latest brainwave as soon as you get back to it. As I am doing now.
Structuring our time, particularly within an educational setting, is important. However, we need to allow for the fact that intuition tends to behave in a chaotic, unstructured fashion. And not be fooled into assuming we’II remember everything when the time is ‘right’.
Couldn’t Possibly Forget
How often have you had a moment’s insight and believed the idea so strong you couldn’t possibly forget? Then, later – when you’ve tried to retrieve that thought – it has completely evaporated. Very frustrating. And potentially costly, in terms of the time and effort spent remembering what had been there in front of you.
It may seem inconvenient to break the moment in order to note something down. But this is far less of a disturbance than having to root around your memory reserves later, in a retrieval mission after the event.
It’s the mental equivalent of dealing with something right away, rather than putting it on a ‘to do’ pile. Whilst it may feel more efficient to go through tasks in one concerted effort, each has its own individual context. And that will need consideration when you come to deal with it later.
If you address ideas as they appear, their context will be self-evident. Whereas, should you put them off until later, you’ll need to rediscover the background to each as you come back to it. And run the risk of important detail being missed.
For these reasons, it’s a great idea to keep a notepad, ideas journal, scrapbook or ‘rough book’ handy. All of which can have a place within the classroom. They provide a way for you to keep your thoughts in order and your pupils to appreciate that their spontaneous ideas have value.
We naturally want children to retain the important information we impart through our expert teaching. But they also need to acknowledge the responses and questions these teachings provoke. Which, arguably, is where the real learning happens.
Meaningful & Rewarding
When our pupils have the opportunity to work creatively with this learning (through music, art, dance, etc.) they will then have a store of source-material on which to call. Creative pursuits are therefore both informed by – and a way of reinforcing – classroom learning. So this is a two-way street.
Those who struggle within a conventional learning environment, thereby have an alternative way to engage with their thoughts. And those that find creative expression a challenge have a way-in to this world. In either case, having kept a note of ideas that inform their work makes the process more meaningful and rewarding.
So, please, take note. And take notes.