Calling Bill and Ben! Our learners are like plants ready for ‘re-potting’

Bill & Ben

You may not be old enough to remember Bill and Ben (or Little Weed) but an idea we have been floating around the Learning Exchange at the moment is the idea that our learners are plants ready for re-potting – hence the link to Bill and Ben!

So let’s explore the analogy still further. If you imagine that each of our learners is a plant ready for re-potting then you start to look at their potential for growth. The children are ‘growers’ not so much 2a’s or 3b’s but living things hungry for growth, fresh soil, some plant food and a little T.L.C.

When you loosen the pot that contains them now, free the roots a little and reposition them in a bigger pot, they grow their roots into that new space. Sometimes they grow really quickly like they had been pot bound for far too long, and sometimes they take a time to show growth ‘uptop’ because all the growth is happening behind the scenes, under the new soil.

Keeping a plant in a pot which is already too small is unworthy. You wouldn’t keep your children in shoes which are too small, scrunching up their toes so why would you keep a child in an intellectual pot which is too small? The problem comes when, as a result of weighing the pot or measuring the plant, we presume they won’t need re-potting like their peers. They belong in a 9 cm pot, the ‘scrawny slow growers’. They become pot bound.

Meanwhile the healthy looking plants are moved into the sunlight and enjoy the thrills of a bigger pot.  Their scrawny counterparts’ regime rarely improves and nobody expects them to amount to much anyway on account of their current weight and current height.

But in the soil, something may well be stirring and it just needs a bit of faith on the part of the gardener (teacher). Someone who is prepared to see the potential for growth, inspect the roots, loosen them and gently repot and reboot the growth and offer something different rather than more of the same. Let’s all think about all our children as plants to be re-potted.

Thanks Bill and Ben!

Tim Sully

The Learning Exchange

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