Naoise Lynch, A Children’s House Graduate

How TCH helped develop my Independence of Thought

I was in the CH for 9 years from 2004 until 2013. I was in the Junior, the Middle Class and the Senior Class.The CH is a school where everyone is usually working on something different. We were all in the same classroom but doing different things. I remember in the small class you didn’t have to think too much about what everyone else was doing. Just on what you were doing. I think that helped you to become focused in your own work and what excited you and interested you.

In the Senior Class I remember that it was OK to just do your own project or to watch someone else doing theirs, or you could work in a team. So having that choice about how you learnt things and how you worked got you to think about things in different ways and to realise that there wasn’t just the one way.

What I also remember was that every idea or comment you might make on a topic or about something we were discussing as a class was listened to. No one ever told you that you were wrong. Usually Ms Kuh would say “mmm that is interesting”, so in that way you never felt that you should all be thinking the same thing but that all sorts of different thoughts were welcome. In fact, you could were encouraged to think about really unusual angles on things, and today I see that as thinking outside the box! I am pretty good at that!

Often in the CH there were no right or wrong answers. You would be told to have another go or try again and I think that helps with your confidence. I found some of my old story books once and they were full of awful spelling mistakes but they had “excellent” written at the bottom. The thinking behind your story was more important to the teachers than a silly spelling mistake and that gave you confidence. I still love telling stories and now I am involved in drama and in creative writing for drama. and I am glad to have that confidence.

In my secondary school experience we all work together more all looking at the same problems and the same books, but there are plenty of opportunities to contribute and make comments. I think my time at the CH has helped me to feel confident in making comments that are different to other people and also the confidence to contribute.

I also think that I am not a “herd” man or a “agree with everything that someone else said because they are important” man. It’s good to just be your own man.

But what I really want to know is did anyone beat my goal record in the CH? Fionn told me that John came pretty close . . . . . I may have to call by for a few kicks of the ball if that is the case.

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