- Teachers disrespect students by belittling them or demeaning them.
- Teach them things they already know.
- Refuse to believe students already know a lot about anything.
- There's no partnering, no relationship, between students and teachers.
- Kids are expected to come and learn without any voice in their learning.
- Teachers are not helping students understand how learn.
- Teachers are not connected the way many students are and students look down on this.
- Using age old teaching strategies that are not engaging.
- Not allowing student freedom and autonomy to learn even they do this on their own everyday.
- Creating contrived learning with zero real life context.
- Ones size fits all mentality.
I've begun an experiment in my technology class where students are given everything they need to learn within a wiki (feel free to join the learning). Students have access to 17 projects and within a project are the learning targets, expectations, guiding questions, and rubric. Everything they need to succeed is on one page in plain sight.
The experiment hypothesized that if I designed learning experiences based on their interests while giving them structure they would highly motivated to learn and create. Creating their projects was the first step they took - students dove right in and got to work. What they failed to do, and I knew this was going to happen, was learn the learning targets before they created a final product. Some in my PLN would disagree that students should not have to do anything with learning targets citing these as restrictions to what students can actually accomplish. However, what I found was that students missed a bulk of learning they needed to make educated decisions about how they would proceed towards a final product. My conclusion is that students are not being taught how to learn, rather they are being enabled to make projects without thought to learning that goes into it.
The reason I began this experiment was to determine if the above statements can be counteracted with an open learning atmosphere coupled with building relationships to help them learn how to learn. It's working; working slowly, but it's working.
Students are beginning to understand that you can't jump right to the project to the end. I talk to all of the students daily to help them understand it's not about the product but about the process. The process is learning - working through something systematically to learn all its parts to create a comprehensive whole. As I work side-by-side with them and talk about learning they realize learning isn't a project but what you do with information. Don't get me wrong, there's a long way to go but it's a start.
Back to why students hate school. Students don't have to hate school. If educators can create relationships that help students engage in meaningful learning they will come to school excited to learn.
Image credit: Free license by OpenClips BY CC0 1.0 Public Domain