At the start of this year I asked my students what they wanted to use their tutor group time for, the answers were varied, but one struck a deep chord with me. A quiet year 12 student said, "I would love to have more meaningful conversations... deeper conversations... about the world and stuff." Yes, the world and stuff.... deep huh? Then I realised, when do we ever give the students a chance just to reflect on their week, their day, their lives, the world? When do the just sit together and listen to each other without the pressure of completing work or being graded? So, I decided to do something about it.
This term we have embarked on The Tuesday Project. On a Tuesday the girls come into tutor group, sit in a circle and ready themselves to listen. I have a jar which holds a number of conversation starters. I draw one out of the jar and we begin. The results have been amazing. This week one student, who appears to be confident and self-assured, shared that she is lonely in her classes. The other students in the group gave her strategies to try and alleviate her loneliness and also discussed how they could help others that might be in lonely in their classes. Last week, the question was 'What do you love about yourself?' and two of the students in my group couldn't answer. The other students responded by listing what they loved about these two girls. Meanwhile, another question led one student to concede she wanted to be a lobster farmer when she left school!
I believe that deeper conversations in the classroom can lead to more self-awareness, care for others, resilience, the development of active listening skills and a more mindful and nurturing school environment.
This term I am sourcing my conversation starters from Momastery's Key Jar as a starting point. Next term I am going to ask the students to write two of their own questions to place in our jar. I am excited about this project and the deeper conversations we are yet to have.