Friday, July 30, 2010

A magnetic curriculum

 The education system is a long one. Our children today are savvy, technologically far more advanced than teachers and impatient. The moment we try and teach them something that has no relevance to their world and their needs, we have lost them. So we need to tread carefully. Education should not be viewed by our students as something that needs to be scaled and at the end of all that knowledge, exams and stress, is the scintillating prize: a piece of paper saying, "Yep! You scaled the mountain." It should a magnetic pull that lures children into a world that empowers them and gives meaning to life. This is what Mr Charles Leadbeater refers to as an extrinsic motivator.This applies to not just slum kids. All children need to be motivated.

The video is inspiring. Teachers need motivation too and that's why technology is so 'cool!'
I will be starting a unit on children's rights. The children in my class are from privileged backgrounds.
I know I will start every day with a question that stimulates conversation. I would like to set up authentic tasks that will give these children a purpose which will ultimately affect the less privileged in some way or the other. Last time, I remember my class created an A to Z scrap book on the rights of a child; another class published a magazine like Globen- in retrospect, boring summative assessments with no ultimate purpose. Last year, the students went around interviewing street children on their own, taking photographs with them. They presented their findings on a poster. They were thrilled with their own research work and the effort that they had put in. They connected with these kids and wanted to voice the stories of their lives.Every morning we had animated discussions and feedback. I left it to them. Yet it did not go down too well with some of the children's homes who got upset with the frequent calls the students made. The wanted something formal...a letter from our school. A formal class trip where the teacher decides the time and venue. I understand the need for this, but it would have killed spontaneity. This year, let's see how it goes.

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