One of the things I love most about working in education is being present when a student finds their element – when they discover that ‘thing’ which motivates them and holds their interest, when they feel ‘in the zone’ and self-confident. For me, my ‘thing’ has always been drumming. I had my first drum kit aged ten and still enjoy playing forty years later.
Finding our thing can have a positive impact on our wellbeing and self-worth. It can even bring confidence and positivity into other pursuits and activities we engage in. When we are in our element we are, often subconsciously, displaying all the attitudes, behaviours and capacities we need for effective and lifelong learning. We require little motivation from others, perhaps not even the promise of reward or recognition; we need no score card or grade; we embrace the activity and commit to it because we enjoy it and we believe we are getting better at it every time we try. Before we know it, it becomes our thing, what drives us. The trick is to recognise the positive mindset and the effective learning skills we are applying whilst we are engaged in our ‘thing’ – and then to see if we can replicate them during other moments in the week. If we can show the best version of ourselves in one pursuit, we can learn from that experience and replicate the same best self in other situations.
This is why I was so pleased to see so many after school clubs being launched at HSW this week. From Lego-building to computing, history to dance, basketball to Spanish speaking and trampolining to Minecraft’ing’ (a club entirely devised and run by the students), we have been rolling out an impressive array of opportunities for our students to try out new activities and find their thing. I was lucky enough to drop into a few clubs this week and was delighted to see pupils engaging and working well together, showing enthusiasm and self-motivation. Our co-curriculum offer is as important to us here at HSW as our core academic curriculum – because it helps us to view the ‘whole child’ in their element and to encourage them to replicate that same confidence when they are back in the classroom!
A J Hammond