“Boredom continues to be a leading cause of our high school dropout rate.” Tony Wagner, The Global Achievement Gap
I was so intrigued by a video that was created by Rod Lucier’s cohort at the Learning 2.011 conference (and this reflection that you should read) this last week in Shanghai that I wanted to share it. The basics of the video show the boredom of students as they sit through the traditional lecture or “drill-and-kill” type teaching that has happened in schools. A student dreams about the opportunities for hands on learning that is interactive and collaborative. I remember sitting through these classes during my time in high school usually thinking about anything else other than what was being taught.
It was amazing to see that instead of simply talking about project based learning for two days in a conference, this group actually participated in their own project and created the above video. What better way to understand the needs and motivation of a learner then by putting yourself in the situation.
Shouldn’t we as educators create a system with more time so that we can take part in these real and relevant projects? I am all for PBL but I think that we need to not only create the opportunities for our students to do this, but for ourselves as well. Again referencing the Wagner book, schools in Singapore are seeing the importance of learning communities that promote active learning:
The motto of Singapore’s education reform movement is “Thinking Schools, Learning Nation.” According to its Ministry of Education’s website: Thinking Schools will be learning organizations in every sense, constantly challenging assumptions, and seeking better ways of doing things through participation, creativity and innovation. Thinking Schools will be the cradle of thinking students as well as thinking adults and this spirit of learning should accompany our students even after they leave school. A Learning Nation envisions a national culture and social environment that promotes lifelong learning in our people. The capacity of Singaporeans to continually learn, both for professional development and for personal enrichment, will determine our collective tolerance for change.
The more I see it, the more evident it becomes. To be an effective teacher, you need to be passionate and active in your own learning first. This is not a conclusion I have just reached, but I do believe it is important to reiterated often. The project shared and the amazing conversations that I was able to take part in at Learning 2.011 just confirmed it again.