Saturday, 17 September 2016


White on, white off... so the day goes.

Imagine a day with no green-, black- or whiteboard. Would this be a problem? Not really- depending on your view of teaching and learning.

The board is a medium for recording, demonstrating and displaying. And so, we often use the medium to its full capacity. Or... Do we?

White on, white off...
So the day goes.
This has been a long day,
The duster and chalk knows...

The board has served us for a very long time,
In its memory is math, sciences, art and rhyme.
As we stand with our backs toward
the board,
We look ahead at the paper piles we hoard.

My board, my pride.
White on, white off.
So the day goes.

In my context, my chalkboard is one of the items/media which allows me to express myself through visual creativity. In the Waldorf education system the blackboard is utilised to its fullest potential: colour is used, excellent chalk drawings in art lessons, mathematics and story writing.

I have, for some time, read and viewed methods of instruction in Waldorf schools and I realised that one's methodology or interpretation of creative strategies is actually embedded within one's personality. I realised in my first year of high school that I could sketch. We were given paper and a pencil or charcoal. I decided to work on a theme: the night sky. I never knew I had the potential to express myself in this way. It was then that I realised that the value of simple media like chalk, pencil, paper, or board should never be underestimated.

The new craze in schools is of course the interactive whiteboard. This amazing tool captures the learners' and teachers' attention immediately because of its versatility. I embrace all changes in technology but at the same time, I thrive on simplicity. It is through simplicity that one establishes the most clarity. Also, it is through technological advancement that the mind's eye sees wonderful connections in all things simple and advanced.

After all, technology is a process of devising things for a need or purpose. With time, reflection and review, these 'things' were modified according to its application and context of the individuals using them. So, when we look at the simple chalkboard there are no limits. WE set the limit on this medium of expression. Our thinking ABOUT THE USE of things often needs modification. This is the basis of true innovation and creativity. The same view can be applied to learners' writing books. They engage with the medium on a daily basis, so effort should be made to encourage pride in their written work in all subjects. Texture and paper folding can also be incorporated in these media as we mostly used them within a two dimensional perspective.

Most of us in the teaching profession do not have laptops, IPADS or interactive whiteboards but what we all possess- in whichever context we find ourselves- is the ability to inspire those in our care and to challenge our own expectations as teachers.

The medium is not the barrier. Our perspectives and lack of creativity are...

Here are a few snippets from a Waldorf chalk drawing website: as well as Pinterest under 'Waldorf math chalkboard".

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