My posts of late seem to be less about technology integration and more about my teaching philosophies. Perhaps it’s because it’s the end of the year and the big picture becomes more evident as June approaches.
Today I had two “reluctant learners” stay after school with me. One was a track athlete who had to miss a practice; the other, a creative lad who insisted that he was needed at home to put away camping gear ( a phone call home cleared the matter up- all gear had been stowed the previous night). The point of their quality time with me was to get them somewhere close to what we call “teacher pace” in our standards based environment. While students are given latitude to learn at their best speed, we hold them accountable to be somewhere within reasonable limits. These two young men were in no danger of exceeding the teacher pace speed limit.
The track athlete settled in after a meager struggle to get out of working. He has let his intelligence show on numerous occasions so it was no surprise that he was able to knock out his work. The other student was more difficult. He pulled out every evasive stop in his deep repertoire. I countered with every redirect I had and was thankful I had had a full nights sleep and a bit of patience left.
As often happens, fate (or something like it) dangled a life vest in front of me when this student started to talk about his use of Minecraft. All of a sudden a transformation occured before my eyes. This young man, reluctant to even consider the idea of writing a complete sentence, was suddenly talking about circuitry, electrical design, and the “what if” possibilities that come with creative ideas.
My quiet questioning produced a plethora of ideas from him. In the course of finding the relevancy of his interests to his learning, this young man determined that he could show what he knew about history (the firebombing during WWII), physics (using water to move other objects) and how he could simulate tectonic plate movement.
Once again- find what they love, use what they love, let them use their creativity to help them learn. My job is to help craft a system that allows them to use the tools they need to fascilitate their learning. It’s a delicate but essential balance.
One look at the energy in this young man convinces me that it’s worth the effort.