There is huge power in the art of using buddies when integrating new students into school!
Our class went for buddy reading with a brand new Reception class this week and we had the profound privilege of being their first buddies ever! It is a powerful experience for 7-8 year olds to find themselves as the role models to the newest school goers as they begin their time as learners in a primary school.
Something happens to children when they have the power of being the expert…their language changesPrior to the visit, we discussed what it’s all about – sharing, learning, modeling behaviour and expectations, showing and talking, listening and even teaching the beginning of the reflection process. Something happens to children when they have the power of being the expert…their language changes (‘Nice work! Way to go!) their attitude to themselves as learners changes (“I can do this! I am good at this!”) their yardstick changes (“This is easy! I can help someone else to learn!”) and their resilience changes (“You can do it! Keep going!”)
What was fascinating, was to watch my dyslexic children and my autistic child who stepped up, took the lead and became the resident experts in reading. They were extremely happy to model good reading behaviours, to move alongside their buddy, settling them, introducing themselves and giving reinforcement of what was expected.
When we reflected at the end of the session, the feedback was awesome – they felt empowered… expert… they felt as if they had taught another child what reading is all about. When we discussed (as feed-forward) what next week would look like with our buddies, the vote was unanimous – they need to direct their buddies, ask more questions and listen to them.
All up, a wonderful buddy reading experience. Beginners this week, experts next!