A few weeks ago, while working in a school as a supply teacher, I taught a lesson about Spain, and I was finding out from the children what they already knew.
One of them said he had heard of the Spanish Armada, but he wasn’t really sure what it was. I asked if anyone else in the class knew anything about it, and immediately little Alfie* put his hand up. Now I would have sworn this kid hadn’t been listening – he’d been fiddling with his pencil and staring into space – so it was with trepidation that I asked what he knew. I was expecting a random observation about the weather outside, or a family member’s up-coming birthday. Instead I got this:
King Philip II of Spain was married to Queen Mary so he sort of ruled England as well. When Queen Mary died he wanted to stay in charge of England, so he asked Queen Elizabeth I to marry him. She didn’t like him so she said no. King Philip was so cross that she wouldn’t marry him that he raised a fleet of ships – called an Armada – to attack England. It didn’t do any good though because he lost.
Wow! Never, ever under-estimate the child you think isn’t listening!
* not his real name