Bring School to Life

I was inspired by article I read today from Will Richardson, author of Why School: How Education Must Change When Learning and Information Are Everywhere.

He advocates that we need to bring school to life and suggests how: “What if we were to say that, starting this year, even with our children in K–5, at least half of the time they spend on schoolwork must be on stuff that can’t end up in a folder we put away? That the reason they’re doing their schoolwork isn’t just for a grade or for it to be pinned up in the hallway? It should be because their work is something they create on their own, or with others, that has real value in the real world.”

I love his ethos! That at least half of children’s time should be spent on learning that can’t end up on a piece of paper. It immediately forces us to be creative in how we plan learning and brings school to life through enforcing engagement in the real-world; getting outside, meeting people and engaging with the community around.

As he puts it: I’d rather know that my kids were creating something of meaning, value, and I hope, beauty for people other than just their teachers, and that those creations had the opportunity to live in the world. That they were thinking hard about audience…learning how to network and collaborate with others…learning to “design and share information for global communities to meet a variety of purposes,” and becoming literate in the process.” In other words, wouldn’t we prefer an ethos that brings the school to life in this way? Imagine the buzz as the children are engaged in these meaningful activities!

Sometimes I think we underestimate the innovative and independent capabilities of children. So, let’s learn to bring school to life by standing back and allowing the children to remind us that they “are capable of doing authentic work that adds to the abundance in ways that can make the world a better, richer place.”