The look of fear in their faces has to be seen.
So there we were, all twenty of us – nineteen were under ten years old, and then there was me; age not disclosed.
These primary school (elementary) children were up and ready for some serious radio broadcasting. Creative writing obviously, but packaged as scripts, cues, running orders, jokes, poems, questioning, entertainment news and facts about their local areas.
And by the look on their faces they had everything under control. They knew there were going to be ‘live’ with their own one-hour programme on a short term school radio station. They knew what they wanted to put in their programme, so all that needed sorting were the timings.
It was then that the first smell of fear drifted into the room.
The headteacher pointed out that we had some young musicians with us who were ready to record their playing for the programme.
You have brought your recording thingy with you, haven’t you?
Well, as I had no reason to, the answer was going to be no. ” They can do it live…” The children smiled and simply got on with the rest of the planning while the headteacher’s faced dropped and changed several shades over the following seconds. While she had by now (just about) accepted the concept of her team broadcasting by at least speaking live, the thought of anything even more variable and complex adding to the mix was nearly too much.
To cut a long story short – it worked.
But then it was always going to. Not only did it work for that group but the two other primary school teams of under 10s also pulled it off, with considerable skill it must be said. And that previous teacher wasn’t the only one with a doubt or two in their heads prior to the start.
The point to all this is simple enough.
So many children now, even very young ones, are totally at ease in these situations. So for those teachers faced with a similar situation, the advice must be, don’t panic too much. I’m saying ‘too much’ because we should always keep a lead on this to some extent, but equally we should also accept that what we may find utterly scary, can be just another day in the office to the children.
Live radio with a real audience was for these children, and for many others, the perfect way to express what they can really do. Creative writing at a genuinely accessible level.