Student initiative a delight

The last couple of weeks has been wonderful with this new class. Each day I have a simple plan and structure that involves:

* Advisory – whole group together with discussion and reflection on what we have done or going to do and maybe teaching on a certain area that the whole group needs
* Pick me up – fun activity with the whole group
* Challenge – activity that involves problem solving, team work, initiative or perseverance etc
* A few timetabled lessons for whole group on specific areas
* Then the rest of the day is individual or group project work

After this time the students usually work on their own individual or group project and are responsible for how they manage their own time. I usually allow them the opportunity to come up with their own ideas and initiatives and it is great to see this happen.

All these kids had been fed up with mainstream school and the cells and bells approach that forced them to toe the line and march to the beat of the drum. This was not working for these kids.

Give them some freedom to do what they like or feel like doing at the time while respecting others gives opportunity for learning and work to flow freely. As a teacher (director) of the students to now become their advisor is taking time and starting to bear fruit. I need to learn to trust my students to find what they like doing and learning about. Not to worry about times things get messy or noisy or disruptive. As I hang in there and not to worry too much the kids usually come through.

This year they have shown interest and initiative to do the following:

  • Sean wants to do a mural
  • Aaron doing his L Plates tests online (see photo above)
  • Britt wants to plan a St Paddy’s Day and trip to the Queensland theme parks
  • Bonnie wants to do a Scrapbooking Book of the class photos and activities
  • The group wants to go yabbying and cook them up for lunch
  • Brad wants to learn Linux and programming
  • They want to use the Big Red Bus to go on a couple fo road trips
  • Bonnie is writing a book with a couple of the lads to illustrate
  • The group is setting up their own outdoor area near the Big Red Bus
  • And much more…

What a joy it is to be with kids who show initiative and want to learn not because they are told to but because they want to. Gone are the days when I have to spend most of my day managing behaviour and having one or two students who don’t want to be there wreck it for the rest.

The class wreckers need a learning venue where they can learn to learn, doing what they enjoy.

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