What Interest Students

March 29, 2008 § Leave a comment

Friday afternoon, two talented, socialable and engaging male students choose to disengage from class. It would be easy to excuse their behaviour as “last lesson of the weekitis” or to attribute their behavious to the slightly dull topic of databases or to blame the situation that they are “boys.” However I am in the business of finding solutions, of working with young people, not reinforcing stereotypes and accepting excuses. I believe “we” can be successful, that we, is “the students and I.” I did asked the boys to think about our situation, I hope they do, but there is a lot more enjoyable things to think about than ICT last lesson on a Friday.

So to reflect on Clarence Fishers post on time for “personal interests.” Are we asking our students to learn appropriately? When did I last use a database? Would I have used one had I been taught the skills in school? Would I have enjoyed the learning process? Would I accept the “spoon full of medicine is good for me argument” if I didnt? Maybe now, as an adult, but I am not sure I was ready to accept this as a student….

Lets take a thinking side step, Google (and other companies) allow their employees to  take 10% – 20% of their on the job time to pursue their own interests, resulting in some amazing innovations. Like employees, our students are often tied into a rigid schedule of “getting things done.” If I gave my students more time to pursue their own interests (not fancy pants though) would they work more deligiently and successfully on their coursework?

“The ability to work on an agenda that actually interests you would be a massive change in education.”

I agree with Clarence, but its not easy connecting with databases? Do I in fact even need to? Woudl the students respect the time to focus on databases if they were given more freedom? Do they realise that if we complete the unit we could try to use the time for more exciting and experimental ICT? Do they see the finish line? I do hope the boys give the lesson a second thought as I value their thoughts and contribution to the conversation. Perhaps I will take a risk and email them, asking for their opinion….. If they respond and permit me, I will let your know the outcome.

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