Virtual Crews (Part 1) – The Power of Crew!!
“Crew is the culture and character glue that holds us together. Now, with the distancing and immense stress on us all, it is even more crucial that we crew up.
“-Erica Young, Crew Leader at an EL Education school in Georgia, USA.
Crew is an integral element of an EL school and so it is an important piece in the day at Polymath School as well. It can be defined as a “Culture” as well as a “Structure”. As a “Culture”, it provides the children and the teachers a healthy space to discuss their lives, teach each other, grow and challenge themselves to be better.
This manifests itself in a variety of ways.
•Sometimes the crew looks like reading together to improve upon reading skills as a class.
•Sometimes during the crew, we talk about our weekend which helps build a culture of care and stronger friendship in the classroom. It also teaches young children to patiently listen to their friends and take active interest in each other’s lives.
Jenifer, homeroom teacher of KG, says, “I see crew time as time for socio-emotional learning especially for the age of the kids I teach. For example, they learn to take up responsibility to lead the phonics class for a week or use new words they learn in the crew chant. Crew as a structure enables them to grow.”
•Sometimes the crew is used to play games, or as a remedial class or to discuss problems faced in the class.
•Sometimes we set targets for ourselves, and sometimes we appreciate the good deeds we have noticed our classmates display and celebrate our achievements.
In KG, every morning during crew the children review their star chart to see if they have been completing their work, attempting to speak in English and following the rules.
The motto of crew, “We are crew, not passengers” exemplifies this value.
As a “Structure”, we start our day with 30 minutes of crew, which is a constant across all grades (Nursery to Grade 8). We made a conscious decision to preserve this even in our online school.
Jenifer says “I think crew time is very effective as I have observed that when children spend time with their peers of the same age group, they find a lot of joy in it. Their growing language ability also helps them communicate better. I also use crew time to answer questions about what the day is going to look like for them. So it gets them mentally prepared for the day”.
Whereas, Amita, grade 6 homeroom teacher believes that crew is for “investigating yourself and others, beyond the academics. I use crew to help children be mindful of the norms to be practiced throughout the day”.
In the times of social distancing and online schooling, crew becomes all the more important to preserve the feeling of togetherness and support.