Why Winnie the Pooh knows his stuff when it comes to education

As a teacher and a mum, the loveable Winnie the Pooh is a firm favourite when it comes to children’s fiction. Not only because the big-hearted character can’t fail to leave you feeling warm and fuzzy but because there’s much that we can take from this wise old bear. So, as we celebrate Winnie the Pooh day on the birthday AA Milne, what better way to share some of my education values, than through the beautiful dialogue bestowed upon the adorable Pooh.

It’s been tough to whittle them down but, here are 11 of my favourite Winnie the Pooh quotes and why they make so much sense when it comes to the ever-changing world of education.

1. “Some people care too much. I think it's called love.” 

Teaching is an all-encompassing profession. It takes dedication, resilience and a steely resolve not to give up on any child. It’s not for the faint hearted -you’ve got to love it and the best educators will always go the extra mile to foster curiosity and help others to identify their passions, instilling a belief that anything is possible. 

2.       “You can't stay in your corner of the Forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes.”

Effective learners are collaborators and risk takers. They do, and then learn from their mistakes. Often the most effective learning occurs when we work with others and try to approach things from another perspective.

3.“It is more fun to talk with someone who doesn't use long, difficult words but rather short, easy words like "What about lunch?”

Know your audience! The best learning takes place when it’s accessible and pitched at the right level whatever that may be. Big doesn’t always mean clever.

4.“Rivers know this: there is no hurry. We shall get there some day.”

Patience, perseverance and resilience are characteristics that we want to cultivate in all learners. Children develop at such varying rates and we must be mindful of this and brave when it comes to the notion of progress. Teach what we know they need, not what we’re told they need. It’s not about how quickly they get there, just getting there is what matters.

5.“If the person you are talking to doesn't appear to be listening, be patient. It may simply be that he has a small piece of fluff in his ear.”

In teaching, one size most definitely, does not fit all. If someone doesn’t appear to be ‘listening’, it’s up to us to rephrase our questioning.

6.“Some people talk to animals. Not many listen though. That's the problem.”

Talking is a natural part of teaching and as teachers we talk A LOT. Sometimes we need to stop and just listen more to what our learners are telling us.

7.“When you see someone putting on his Big Boots, you can be pretty sure that an Adventure is going to happen.”

We want children to put on their Big Boots when it comes to learning. After all, learning should be an adventure! Imagine the possibilities if we could foster a Big Boots attitude to learning in ALL children that we teach.

8.“Think it over, think it under.”

Give children time to think and think a lot. We’re under pressure to make learning fast paced, attain progress in the shortest amount of time and move on to the next thing. This does not allow for deeper thinking or contemplation so let’s stop! Slow down and let children have the luxury of time to think (and dream).

9.“I did know once, only I've sort of forgotten.”

Just because we think we know now, doesn’t mean we’ll remember later. For deep rooted understanding and learning to develop we must revisit, retrieve and revise. A multi-layered approach to learning is essential for a child to develop concepts at greater depth. We need to help children to see, hear, feel, think, do and experience.

10.“It's not much of a tail, but I'm sort of attached to it.”

Wouldn’t it be amazing if we could stop children worrying about what others are doing and comparing themselves and their achievements? Self-esteem would soar! So, let’s be role models and encourage children to be proud of their ‘tails’ and celebrate their achievement’s, talents and differences.

11.“You're braver than you believe and stronger and smarter than you think.”

This is a mantra that I believe should be shared with children daily!  They all have these qualities within and as teachers, it’s our job to help them find them.

So, in 2018, I’m going to do my best to be more like Winnie by keeping these quotes front of mind. What will you do in 2018 to #bemorelikepooh?

By Jennie Adams on 18th January 2018

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