Learning is messy

This is great time lapse photo/video of an artiste in action. I know Tank as he did some work for me when I was the project manager at SPC Ardmona KidsTown.
Notice how the hand goes all over the place and it does not appear sequential at all. I wonder if that is how many of us think and learn.So why then should we expect kids to work and learn sequentially and orderly. It looks to me like it is a bit here, a bit there, just like Tank paints.

If you watch kids work, in a free setting, not a typical classroom (sit down/shut up) they do a bit of this and a bit of that, go here, go there etc. We have all been raised in typical classrooms and taught traditionally, and if you are anything like me we struggle with this, what we think is a haphazard approach. I am starting to realise that learning and work is very messy and each young person approaches it in the best way they can and what makes sense to them intrinsically.

This is what we try to do with the Big Picture approach to learning. Unless the “teacher” in us rises up to take control and direct situations.

Authentic Learning – Student Project

Students in my Big Picture program undertake authentic work in the community by negotiating a project with their internship mentor.

Glen is a building contractor who came to speak to my class about his passion of powerboat racing (Jet sprint racing) and his building business. As a result of this talk, one of my students Sean, jumped at the opportunity to do an internship with him. Over the next few weeks, another student Thaniell got to know Glen and offered to help him make a gadget to measure exhaust temperatures for his boat.

Thaniel’s interests include: farming, sound and lighting and electrical/electronics.

Here is Glen in action with his wife Amanda as navigator.

Here is a promotional video of jet boat racing.

Glen bought the electronics kit and asked Thaniel to put it all together which involved reading the steps in a magazine and soldering the circuitry.

The video below of their explanation of the project and how it all went really shows the value of authentic learning opportunities.