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'Social Drifting'

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I was chatting with a teacher friend of mine the other day (at a respectable social distance of course). We were discussing how the increase of children returning to the school was going.

She has about 12 in her Key Stage aged class bubble at the moment. She said that as always, the children have amazed her with their wisdom and perspective. She told me they had invented a new term: ‘social drifting.’

The children had come up with it to name the thing that happens when you’ve been really trying to stay a good distance apart, but then you just gently sway, lean, bend, drift towards each other. You can’t help it. Your body kind of does it by itself, like a flower turning to towards the sun.

We all know that feeling. The natural pull to be closer to the person we are talking to, how easy it is to forget we are supposed to stay apart.

My friend said the children named it, and in doing so they have made it easier to notice it happening and to find fun ways to help each other to remember to scoot, shuffle, pull away from each other.

It reminded me that giving things a name can make them more manageable, more under our control. Since my chat with my friend, I have been aware of my own natural ‘social drift’ and thinking of her class, I have smiled and moved a step back.

As I write this it looks increasingly likely that England will ‘drift’ to a lesser gap between social interactions very soon. It also looks as though schools may be asked to welcome all pupils back in September, with bubble sizes increasing to accommodate these changes.

Perhaps this will make the need to be aware of ‘social drifting’ even more important – the closer you can be to someone the easier it is to forget yourself for a moment. Whatever happens, educators are finding ways to make sense of rules and restrictions, and their best partners in crime are probably the children. 


Edited by Jules

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