Photo CC- By Sean MacEntee
Growing up, education and the process of learning always seemed pretty black-and-white to me. Students go to elementary school and learn “the basics.” Then they go to middle school where they make a gradual transition to high school. I remember the overwhelming joy I felt when I got to put my belongings in my very own locker for the first time in sixth grade. Then in high school, students are supposed to decide what subject they are best at and choose a career based on this discovery.
There is always that dreaded question. “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I think Logan Plante put it perfectly when he said that people should just want to be happy and healthy when they “grow up.” Also, what does that even mean? Who is considered a “grown up?” Is it when you leave home and go to college? Is it when you graduate college and get a job, or is there just some point in your life where you seem to have it (whatever “it” is) figured out?
Either way, how should kids have even the slightest clue about what they want to for the rest of their lives when all they have experience in is reading picture books and learning long division? Even when students are in high school, they arguably still don’t have enough experience to make this decision. Logan seemed to be extremely wise for his age, and it seemed to be because of his unique schooling. Also, in last week’s TEDtalk, Ken Robinson discussed how traditional schools are educating students to be college professors. It seems that these students are supposed to excel in one or more subjects and take this specific talent/skill as far as they can. However, many people are now arguing that education shouldn’t be this way. Instead of telling students how to think, how to learn, or what they should do for the rest of their lives, we as teachers should be teaching them how to be individualistic thinkers and kindling not only their existing talents but their interests as well.
I think Bud Hunt had noteworthy ideas for educating students through making, hacking, and playing. Out of those three, I have personally found the most success with making. No matter what I am doing, I am so much more motivated if I can see my product or my progress, whether it is in sports, class, playing an instrument, etc. Before watching the TEDtalk and reading the article, I had only heard the term “hacking” when talking about mischievous computer activity, but I think it is very important for today’s education. I think schooling has fallen into routine, and I think it needs to be “hacked” for students to get the most out of their experience. Before, I had also only heard about learning through play with elementary students, but I think that “playing” with literature in a high school English class can also be very beneficial. I’m not extremely familiar with this term, but I intend to learn more about it and how it can be applied to a high school class.
No matter now education is reformed, I believe it needs to be changed to truly benefit the students even though it will be more difficult and inconvenient to teach this way, and I am excited to be a part of this change.