Real world learning = authentic learning

Quote from video below: “Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the trouble-makers, the round pegs in square holes…the ones who see things differently…”

My wrestle this week has been supporting the initiative of my students in their ideas (some seem to me to be crazy ideas). It has been great to see that they are starting to come up with ideas of things that they would like to do. It is happening more and more.

In the early days the kids were conditioned (from years of being schoolled) to be given work to do by the teacher. It has taken months and months to work through this attitude. I also had to detox myself from this attitude and not give the kids stuff to do just to keep them busy and cut the risk of them mucking up or wasting ‘valuable’ time.

Now my challenge is to not jump in and direct them when their idea is forming. I am learning that this is valuable time for them to organise their thoughts, consider all the options, weigh up the pros and cons etc etc. In Big Picture we have a simple procedure for student projects: THINK then DO.

For a teacher who likes to regulate and control his class (was my approach) this is difficult to do. Especially this THINK phase where it gets messy, the kids get distracted, they fuss around, they (appear) to waste time and it appears no work is being done.

This is where I am up to at the moment. I need to keep faith with the approach and hope I can advise and facilitate to help them get to the DO stage.

Here are some of their ideas and they are all at different stages:

  • Thaniel – build a class picnic table and considering setting up a sound studio with a mate
  • Aaron – renovating a racing bike
  • Sean – mural for the school
  • Brad – recording COD movies on his xBox (is now in the DOING stage after many problems he had to solve)
  • Brittany – planning a St Patricks Day
  • Bonnie – scrapbooking project for class

What is also difficult is helping them to find answers to the problems they face, the things blocking them from going forward to start the project, the DOING (Seth Godin talks about Poke the Box). These problems show up as needing money, needing people to help or needing a place to do it.

I will share more on this in future posts.

Here are some examples of authentic learning for the crazy kids…

Here is the interview with the robotics teacher and the author of their book – The New Cool.

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