We have all been inspired at one time or another, and, in my opinion, the best thing we can do is pay it forward. I suppose that’s at the heart of WHY I teach and what motivates me everyday.
Yesterday, I received an email from the assistant superintendent of schools, the person who oversees all of the curriculum for our town. It read, “Just watched this video and thought of the work that you did with your students in creating web pages for use by other students,” and attached was a link (which I will attach below, if you’re interested).
For four years now, a social studies colleague, Brian and I have been collaborating w/ our classes (his AP Euro and my British Lit). Throughout the year, our students work on common assignments and one culminating project at the end of the year. In the past, they planned and implemented a Renaissance Fair for the whole school to enjoy, they’ve written and performed such plays as The Trial of King Henry VIII & the Reduced Canterbury Tales, this year they will be bringing a novel alive in various ways (w/ skits, living histories, models…) in their production of London (a novel by Edward Rutherfurd) ALIVE, and last year (what the email was referring to) they researched information and designed instructional websites on different periods of British History (including major works of literature).
Like Alan Ted, Brian & I find kids work harder when we allow them to steer their own education. We set up the premise of a project which relates to our studies, and we allow them to use their creativity and resourcefulness to implement it. It is imperative to “shift the ownership” of education in order to make knowledge meaningful to students. I believe this is the ONLY way they will become life-long learners.
I’m not sure which of my teachers instilled this theory in me or lit the spark– there were many… too many to mention. But it humbles me that our A.S. recognizes the goal (the motivating drive) in mine & Brian’s work.
Alan Ted’s presentation reaffirmed for me what I already believed and inspired me to create more opportunities to allows students to be the drivers of their own education.