Edukacyjnie przyszłość jest w maluchach – wywiad z członkinią rady programowej Martą Zamośną


Educationally, the future is in toddlers – an interview with program council member Marta Zamosna

didactic methods trends in education
Edukacyjnie przyszłość jest w maluchach – wywiad z członkinią rady programowej Martą Zamośną
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reading time

10 MIN


2023-09-20 11:30:55
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What do you do for a living?

I am an educator. I work full time at a high school, and for the past few years I’ve been taking care of kids on the Autism Spectrum and working in several institutions. Here I work with kids in high school and kindergarten, as well as elementary school students (I-III).

Why did you choose to work in education, as you apparently work in a broad development field?

This was my childhood dream. I always wanted to work with children, I loved them. Yet, when I was young, I adored children in early childhood. Then I ended up in high school. I liked the youth. You could do a lot with them there. And today I’m at a stage where I think I’m going to give up on high school and go back to those preschoolers little ones.

Of all the pedagogical specializations, why did you choose special education or therapy for various deficits in children, including, I guess, especially those on the Autism spectrum?

A boy on the Autism spectrum came to my school. It just happened that way. I’m still of that old generation that, at the word “autism,” sees the kind of child who sways and bangs his head against the wall. So when I got a boy to high school, and I thought that a person on the spectrum to high school would not get, a conundrum arose in me. I started looking for information on what to do to help the boy. There, it was mainly about him passing his high school diploma, because we were managing every day at school and that was such a boost. I went to a postgraduate school, probably the only fantastic school with fantastic lecturers in my life. I met people there who ignited me with knowledge on the subject. They showed me something completely different. In the end, what I really liked about the Autism spectrum is that it is so sincere, and that is why this specialization. I don’t know how long I can talk?

You can tell as many stories as you feel like.

Because the Autism spectrum is my hubby at the moment. For several years now. I can talk about it notoriously. When I finally did my post-graduation last year, my rector and a colleague from the unions were at this meeting, so when the question was asked, it just so happened, about the spectrum, they said among themselves: “Oh mother, it has begun!”. Because I will talk like this for hours about this topic. And what else is important, hitting the postgraduate program, I also came across a trend I really like: building relationships with the child. On the fact that we do not always have to plan ourselves strictly serious method and work according to certain points. Only first we have to get to know the child and by working with him we only establish certain things. Not that I’m going to meet the child, I have therapy with Adas, and before I meet Adas, I’m going to assume that I’m going to do abcd points. Don’t. I first get to know Adasio. Playing with Adas. I work with Adas and in the course of my work I modify all the time what I do. This is also something that my studies taught me very strongly.

This also alludes a bit, perhaps, to what I was about to ask. Nowadays, various inclusive teams are increasingly being formed, bringing students with different abilities or capabilities into classrooms. What should be most important during such educative work with children?

Here there are a great many things that can be touched upon, but so strictly in this educational thing is what I have already said and what I associate very strongly today is this relationship. Relationship building. Building my relationship as a therapist with the child I work with, but also building relationships between group members. That is, if I work in a group, these relationships must be everywhere: between me and the child, between the child and me, and between members of the entire team. For me, the most important thing in education is relationship. And this inclusive education can be when we are able to make these relationships. And sometimes it’s that it will be a group of ten people and it will come out great. Sometimes twenty and it will come out great. And sometimes there may be only five. So it’s difficult in Polish education because we immediately put twenty children in a class, and it may not work out in such a group.

And is there any way to make such education look different?

I would change the entire education system in Poland. I would change everything in general. Once I was at a meeting with the late MP Krystyna Lybacka and she said one thing like this, and I even like her form of education. We have the kindergarten period plus grades I-III, they are in one place and then this transition between the six-year-old and the first grade will be so much smoother. And I generally like that actually, because then the teacher comes in at three-year-olds, and actually ends up at third grade, and can actually do a lot of fantastic things in that time. This is the first thing. The second thing is that we should pay more attention to pre-service and beginning teachers. These are the most important people in a child’s life: development, education. If we don’t appreciate these people, don’t give them any prestige, we won’t do anything. A child learns at a young age. So that’s where my change from these youngsters to these preschoolers comes from now, because I see that we can do a lot of fantastic things with preschoolers. I now watch the exams of eighth-graders. The math results are abysmal.

Every year they seem to drop like that?

But this year they are really terrible and now the question is: what do we do with the kids? They are born with high intellectual potential most of the time, unless something happens there, but generally they have that potential. Mostly they like math and have mathematical abilities. And we as adult people – teachers, therapists, parents,…. we cause a child who is fourteen, fifteen years old to hate math and a terrible score comes out. And this is puzzling to me. And this is what we should work on in this education precisely. If we put the emphasis on early childhood education, that moment when children feel like learning, they are supposed to feel great, then everything will continue to work itself out.

I also work in a private school and see how they work. We were comparing the program to each other recently, because my child is now a six-year-old and is going to grade one of the Polish system at the moment. In the English system he already has fractions, programming and so on at the moment, and in the Polish system he will have addition to ten in the first grade. And now where are we. Something didn’t work out for us here, but I would put the emphasis first and foremost on the little kids, early childhood, pre-school, and if we “do the right thing” here, so to speak ugly, then we won’t have a problem later. Educationally, the future is in toddlers.

Then, in some way, could such non-traditional approaches to learning or new technologies support children and teachers in this collaborative educational work?

Yes, of course. New technologies are present in our lives and we have no other choice. And if we take it away from the kids, we are distorting reality. Also we need to use it in education today, but we need to show kids what’s cool about these technologies. Telling children for five years that the tablet is ble, that the computer is ble, we create such an alternative reality, because we actually sit with the phone, we sit with the computer, we do whatever. This is the first thing. The second thing is that it will work on this equipment in the future. It will benefit from these things. It will create new things. We have artificial intelligence today. Someone made it up. This was not invented by someone who got his first laptop at the age of fifteen. Because that’s not the way to go, so for me the presence of new technologies in school is simply the norm, but the norm should also be that we teach children to use it intelligently.

Intelligently, that is, how?

That is, to show what it is supposed to serve us. It is, for example, when a child comes and asks me about something that I ask the question “Ok, and how can we check it?” He to me: “I’ll ask Uncle Google.” And this may be silly, because I don’t answer him at this point, but I also show him that he can look for this information. He searches for this information, comes back to me, shows me and says: “I found this and this.” About. Now let’s consider whether this information is true and look further together. So I teach him to look for information on the Internet, to use the phone wisely. Not only as watching cartoons, but also for learning. Today when it comes to coding programming platforms, this is the future. Kids need to be able to do that. Kids need to think logically.

And yet teachers are a little afraid of this technology?

Yes. We are afraid because, first of all, I already have my years, as a result, I do not know everything. As I fire up the new equipment, the first thing that comes on my mind is: “Oh, gee, I don’t know what to do.” For us, interactive or other equipment is not intuitive, because we don’t know how to operate it. And now that I’m a teacher who has low self-esteem and who is afraid of failure, how am I supposed to use this equipment if I embarrass myself in front of students who are better at it than me. So that I think it also depends on the fact that we as a people should let go a little. I, for one, am not the alpha and omega that I must know everything. I am a teacher, a therapist. I work on Knowla Box. But there are times when I fire something up and think: “Hmmm… Ok…” and say to the youngster: “Then what would we do now? Because I don’t really know.” I’m not afraid to admit that I don’t know something, and at this point I’m not afraid to use, because I can admit it. But when someone is afraid to admit it, they are reluctant to take advantage of it. And besides, let’s agree, when we go back to the results of those wretched math tests, most of us adults are lousy at it too. And the computers? And platforms of various kinds? This is logic, and we don’t know how to do logic. We are poor. We withdraw quickly. We don’t try to learn, we just retreat because it’s easier.

Here, too, there is a bit of a misconception, because programming languages are quite closely related to thinking even such humanistic than strictly mathematical. That’s the research.

Probably so. However, the way I see Planet Pi, there is simple logic there. Probably such writing of real programs will already be closer to that, but I, however, will work with Pi kids, building a road or on this kind of thing. I’m interested in pictorial early childhood programming, so it’s easy for me to get into it. However, if someone doesn’t touch it, then it’s over. A child enters a system school and gets lessons in Word. In Word it can only show a few options: how to draw, how to do something there. If we show it like this, what are we talking about. Word and Excel the best part of the computer science curriculum!

What does the slogan mean to you: it is wise to have fun?

The fact that I get some kind of learning out of this game in addition to fun, a good time and a lot of joy. Any. The fact that while playing, I don’t even notice that, I am gaining new skills.

Maybe let’s move on to the part of such a more Knowl. How did you find out about Knoocker or Knowli?

From a friend in kindergarten. In kindergarten generally.

And what did you think when you first launched Knowlę Box or Educational Universe?

God, what is this all about and what am I supposed to do now? Why is this even so strange? How do I get through this? I watched the first five minutes of the first panel, and there were probably only four planets there at the time, and I wondered, because there was supposed to be something more, but nothing. I was apprehensive about handling it. How do I do it? And the like. I, for one, will not forget that first impression. I was at home at the time and called my kids. I say, “Be careful that you don’t break something. Don’t touch it. Be careful. Wait,” And over time it was just: “Oh mother, how much is here and how many possibilities I have!” and things began to get more and more interesting and easy.

I was going to ask about it a while later, but I see that you had a pretty strong first impression. What is your advice to other teachers who, like you, will be running this device for the first time?

This is something that cannot be spoiled. This is the first thing. Try. Combine. Explore. Acquire. Experience. First of all: go on and on with your combinations and don’t give up the first time. Because a lot of things don’t work out the first time for me either. There’s a lot that I don’t know what’s going on at all, and I’m trying and trying and trying to figure it out.

So you could say that it teaches a bit of reinventing science experimentation?

Yes. Yes. For me, it certainly was. Rediscovering things, because I see one thing, and then I look, “Oh, gee, here’s something else like that. Gosh, and this is what I can do.” I open some planet, I open some game, and I think to myself, you can do it this way or that way, and a kid comes in and says it can be done somehow else. That is, certainly discovering and experiencing new things.

What needs (special needs) does Knowla Box and Educational Universe address? How can it support children’s development?

Versatile. There are so many things here that here is actually everything. Today I so recalled the contents after this holiday season and discovered everything one by one. Here is virtually every thing that is needed in the development of a child. Starting with writing, drawing and exercising the hand. Through perceptiveness. For simple pronunciation. It certainly develops spatial orientation. Visual perception. Hand-eye coordination. Here we can enter for ourselves all those things that are needed in early childhood and preschool education. For me, this device gives them. Only used wisely again. If I use the Knowla Box and only look at it, and I’m not in a relationship with the child, that’s not good either.

Then how do you use the Knowla Box? You can give specific examples, because there can be a lot of it.

Yes, a lot. I’m fascinated by this one thing at your place and it’s called Creating Music (ed. Planet Smart). There is such a stave and we put various sound objects there. This is so versatile for me. Here you can play with music and make a tune, dance, wind up. Great to build a relationship with a child. You can also create space for new skills even before learning to read, that is, we can make sequences, rows for ourselves. We can learn in such an all-encompassing way, while having music that gives us joy and great fun. What else have we done here today? Here I can actually talk about so many things, because there are so many fantastic elements here. How about another way. For me, the important thing about this Knowla Box is that first of all – we are building a relationship with this child, because I am playing together with him. I for one can’t imagine giving this to a child and leaving him with it. I am the only one who participates and plays with him. Second – sometimes I am the student and he is the teacher. Which for the child is also sometimes important. Sometimes I say “I don’t know.” Sometimes there is an element of competition, because it turns out that the youngster is better than me. There is one game where I am not able to beat him. This is Rhythm (ed. Planet Sigma). First the whole melody is played, and then it is arranged from fragments. If there are three sounds to arrange, I will master. I can arrange it one by one, but when there are two additional sounds to arrange, I can’t do it. It’s brilliant for phoneme hearing, so it’s a world championship this game, and for me it’s so hard that it’s a misunderstanding.

Do you have any idea or method to incorporate this fun with Knowla into the daily lesson program?

It’s a little more difficult in the classroom. Probably also depends on what. There are activities that can be quietly included in the base. I, for example, am fascinated by weight (ed. Planet Sigma). I like the scale very much. Mathematical Squares. Countdown. Very brilliant is multiplication, which will certainly be very interesting to introduce. There are some activities that can be hard to deal with in a lesson, but the mathematical one, Planet Sigma, I can confidently recommend for lessons. It certainly adds variety to classes. You can certainly have fun. In a class of 20 it can look different, as I observe at my school. This is not always possible to implement. There are also only two pens for the active work part of the application. It also depends on the potential of the teacher. I don’t work with a group, so it’s so hard for me to relate to how cool it can be. I can only suspect. I usually work individually.

Ending such an activity thread, which app do you like best? Or your charge?

I don’t have one. The kids don’t have one either. One of my girls loved this Creating music I was talking about. The other kids don’t seem to have that one favorite. There was a moment in Planet Fruu when there is a combination of two of the same animals and another one appears (ed. Floor Activities, Matching). It was so crazy at one point. For me… I don’t have one. I like all those that are related to mathematics. I like all those that develop logical thinking. And also those that develop writing by tracing. That’s because we write by trace in the notebook, and we don’t practice writing in other planes with the children. As I put Knowlę Box on the wall, there is another plane that we do not use completely, and this is very important. That’s why in graphomotorics: projection on the wall, projection on the floor, this is brilliant for me. But this one activity I don’t have.

Is it worth it for Knowla to appear in every school?

Certainly in every school in therapy offices or smaller groups, but I think this is actually how it can be in every school. Now it would be appropriate to distinguish two things to begin with: the Knowla Box itself and the Education Universe. Knowla Box is one of the best interactive solutions when it comes to school, for the reason that it is mobile. He can move it from room to room. Therefore, it is. I think it would be useful in any school.

As I observe what they do at my place here at school. I don’t know if you saw, because I’m sending you such a picture, how the girls put the Knowla Box on the table and threw the picture on the floor and it made such a big picture of coloring books. They arranged the sheets of paper and outlined this outline for themselves. So you can use it in really different ways.

Do you think the Knowla Box could be the kind of wand that would somehow transform daily classroom activities?

Don’t. The relationship is more important. Nothing is a magic wand. One thing cannot change the whole world. She must be in good hands. Well led and so on. Knowla Box may immediately go to some school and may turn out to be hopeless. And so it will be, because there will be no people who can take advantage of it. So the Knowla Box itself is sensational, but without people who won’t want to do it, without the relationship with the child, without the whole environment, it won’t work. There are too many factors here really. I believe in the fact that some principals will buy Knowla Box, and teachers find that: this is actually useless, why did you buy it, you spent so much money. And I know that this will definitely happen and it will happen.

This perhaps indicates that this wand is, however. Now it will probably come out that I am somehow directing this interview at the very end, but I will nevertheless share such a thought. The wand is just a tool, an object. So it all depends on who is using it, how and why. Therefore, a magician-teacher is needed to create this magic among children in the right way.

Well, actually, yes. This is what we can actually do. It is a wand, because this wand in each hand will be completely different. In Voldemort’s hand it was different and in Harry Potter’s hand it was different.


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