I’m seriously thinking about how to incorporate 20% time or a genius hour into my classroom this year. I want to create spaces for student-initiated learning.
The idea of passion-based learning–learning that students are motivated to do for their own reasons–appeals to me because of my experiences following my interests and passions as I learn. I’ve been known to tell people that I’m not a good students (in spite of my advanced degrees). That’s because I’m not particularly interested in doing other people’s assignments unless they are meaningful to me. And yet when I’m interested in something I pursue the topic relentlessly–uncovering information and testing and trying my own approximations as I learn. My photography is an example of passion-based learning.
And then I’m a teacher by profession. That means I give assignments to others to do. And a lot of the time my students do those assignments willingly and really do learn. But at other times they are resistant–for a variety of reasons–like me. And yet, I know that learning is deeper and lasting when it is personally meaningful. I have always worked to create meaningful learning opportunities for my students–and yet, I feel like I can still do better.
So how do I create time for self-initiated learning in a classroom full of kids? What structures will make this opportunity doable? What impact will this passion-based learning have on other learning in the classroom?
And how does being connected increase students’ learning? Can using their blogs amplify their learning experiences? What about opportunities to collaborate with other students in the classroom? Can we bring outside experts in using digital media?
I have a lot to think about and plan for before now and the beginning of the school year in less than a month. If you have ideas or have made this work in your context…please share!