A look through the most popular MindShift posts this year reveals a strong interest in student-directed learning, inquiry-based approaches to teaching and the desire to help students learn how to learn in a changing world.
Sometimes, being thrown into a new situation with few resources and little knowledge can be the best way to innovate. Educators, especially those who work in smaller rural districts, can sometimes be called on to teach classes without a lot of support or resources. While those moments can be terrifying, it’s also a good time to step back from the anxious swirl of curriculum and standards to think like a kid. What would they love? Zombies, superheroes, and fairies, of course!
If an inquiry-based system is to succeed, we’ll need really good human beings in the classroom who know their field, but who also radiate the kind of positive, non-judgmental love that helps students open their minds and hearts.
One educator tries a different approach: “It’s a different way of approaching education, with educators not being the controlling force. It’s about breaking down boundaries and seeing yourself as an equal. We’re all just doing the best we can to learn and to try to form a narrative with cohesion and meaning.”
Fed up with the restrictions at his conventional school, 10-year-old Scott Gray convinced his parents to transfer him to one where children control their own education. His father, Peter Gray, who's a developmental psychologist, watched his son thrive and began seeking to understand how children learned in such a setting, and what lessons could be drawn from it.
“So,” Juárez Correa said, “what do you want to learn?”
Correa asked his students this question in an attempt to bring student-centered learning to an impoverished Mexican town located near a dump where it’s not uncommon to find dead bodies on the street. With that question, Correa not only gave his students something to look forward to in coming to school, but also a clear path to “measurable” achievement.
When students engage in quality projects, they develop knowledge, skills, and dispositions that serve them in the moment and in the long term. There are several ways to start designing projects. Here are six steps that will help you get started.