The day the chairs went on strike
Queensland Teachers' Journal, Vol 126 No 3, 9 April 2021, page no.12
As every teacher knows, inspiring a classroom of students to write can be quite the challenge.
We always endeavour to create a learning environment which has a buzz of excitement and full student engagement, and where learning styles are considered and students’ voices are heard and valued.
After considering a number of inspirational ideas from colleagues and the internet to get those creative juices flowing, we decided to create our very own industrial strike with our classroom chairs, which were having some serious misuse.
As you can imagine, the shock and amazement on the students’ faces when entering the classroom was priceless! They were all curious to know what exactly was happening and why the chairs were wrapped up with caution tape.
We informed our class that the Chair Union had held a meeting the previous night over concerns that they were not being treated properly, and they had decided that immediate action had to be taken. The chairs were going on strike! The Chair Union stated that some serious changes needed to be made in order for the strike action to be cancelled. As a class, we decided that we needed to write a persuasive letter to convince the chairs to end their strike.
Before starting our writing, we had discussions around what students’ thoughts were regarding strikes. To our surprise, they had quite a bit of prior knowledge. We found that, through these discussions, students were using the skill of making connections between themselves and world events. They referred to reports they had seen recently on the TV regarding Australia Day. These discussions also connected nicely to our humanities and social sciences (HASS) unit, where students are learning about values and beliefs.
Following on from our discussions, we co-constructed our persuasive letter to the chairs. Each member of the class contributed to the negotiations. There was optimal engagement and participation. The students reported how much they enjoyed this activity, and they can’t wait to see what we have up our sleeves next.
You will be very pleased to hear that we were able to negotiate a successful outcome and the chairs accepted our proposals and returned to normal duties!