The Egg

The Egg

The Egg

For anyone who knows me, particularly the children I have taught over the years, they will know that I have an obsession with fried eggs and it is nothing to do with eating them!

I have been given a number of gifts homing in on this interest including a hand-painted canvas by a child of an egg; a painting of me clutching a frying pan with a fried egg inside, I have had a giant leaving card produced by children adorned with eggs. I was even referred to, on a number of occasions as, 'The Egg Woman'; a  badge I wore with pride. It has become a rather amusing, recurring theme in my life which is certainly something I never expected! Eggs certainly make me smile these days.

When I discovered that the infamous 'Jelly Cat' (anyone with a link to children and cuddly toys will know all about Jelly Cats) had begun to produce a cuddly toy of a fried egg in their amusables range, I was ecstatic. This was a tactile toy that could truly help bring theory to life in a way that would delight children!

The reason the Egg is so important to me is for its use as a metaphor; over some years of working with children on Mindset, I had begun to use the image of a fried egg to refer to the learning journey.

Let me explain myself.


The Yummy Yolk = Your Comfort Zone

The Wobbly White = the learning zone which is wobbly in the pan whilst it cooks and gradually firms up (this is where all the Growth Mindsetty elements that we talk about in relation to learning like the making of mistakes, the experience of setbacks, the feelings of anxiety and fear, the occurrence of failure, the receiving of criticism and feedback come in.

The Frazzled Crispy Edge = where a task feels really tough and perhaps frustrating - maybe there is a need to step back into the wobbly white to practise/consolidate something we haven't understood YET. 

This is the learning language that helps us to communicate about the learning process. It is the mechanism by which we can feel less alone because we can talk about learning in a straight-forward way that is easy to understand.

Over the years, as I have come to develop my practical understanding of the mindset theory, I have realised how everything it is about comes back to this.

Whilst it seems frivolous and straight-forward it brings a beautiful simplicity to complicated theory and at the end of the day, we need complicated theory to be usable and meaningful to many people - not just those who have the time and capacity to get underneath it as a learning theory. I have worked hard over the years to maintain the integrity of the theory whilst making it usable everyday because otherwise, what is the point?

Everything I have ever done practically in relation to Mindset theory always seems to come back to the talk the egg enables about learning. It has taken me years to realise this but it is true. It is a powerful metaphor and a powerful bit of kit to get kids understanding and ultimately able to drive their own learning. The first step to a child being in control of their own learning and being able to think about it is for them to be able to talk about it - that is what the metaphor of the egg enables. It is a way of making the invisibility of learning, visible.

I will never forget a Year 4 girl I taught a few years ago. She came to me after a maths lesson one day with tears in her eyes and said, "I just don't get it..." I was standing next to a display of the egg and I just pointed at the frazzled crispy edge and then the wobbly white.

In one moment, she realised that the reason she was feeling so upset was she was learning and learning is hard - it's supposed to be or it wouldn't be learning. She knew enough about the emotions we all experience at this point (because that is part of the Egg discussion) but that is OK because we are in the process of going from not knowing to knowing and that can be an emotional time.

The egg is a powerful metaphor that we can all get hold of and that is a good place to start in getting children to consider and talk about their learning. That is the start to healthy self-regulation in relation to learning.

I have a lot of time for the egg  - it leads to Egg-cellent learning and a lot of cracking puns!!!

Leave a comment

* Required fields

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published