4 Comments

  1. Ray Archer
    April 15, 2018 @ 5:20 am

    It sounds like a concept that may work with motivated learners, but children are not aware of what exists out there for them to pursue. Their knowledge is very limited, and they wish to play rather than learn. Incorporating play into learning does not teach the value of work, nor does it prepare them for the real world environment of consistently showing up for work and giving sustained effort throughout the work day for their employer.

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    • Mark Wagner
      June 11, 2018 @ 11:04 am

      These are important points, Ray… and a focus on Student Agency isn’t easy, especially for students that are coming to school at a disadvantage already. But they are often the students who need it and could benefit form it most. It’s very much the role of the educator to raise awareness among students – to let them know what’s possible to pursue – and to help light the way. It’s also the educator’s role to encourage, coach, and otherwise manage student behavior to help them focus on their goals, and to help them realize the value of working hard on toward their goals, even if they sometimes don’t achieve them. With this in mind, I don’t think we should prepare kids for a life of drudgery just because that is what has come before… just as we believe that learning, even professional learning, can be fun, we also believe that work, even professional work, can be fun. We certainly embody that at EdTechTeam, and have seen many teachers (and bosses) exemplify this philosophy as well.

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  2. PAMELA D HYMAN
    December 4, 2019 @ 5:50 am

    Even motivated students aren’t always aware of what they need to succeed. They have simply learned to do things the way adults in their lives expect. We say ” fake it until you make it”. That doesn’t mean they have constructed meaning of what has been presented to them. Play is a form of learning and unfortunately teachers have not yet learned to use it to our advantage. Of course playing and having fun doesn’t always mean students are learning what we want them to, but most of the knowledge we have has come from those who had fun learning and doing what was interesting to them. We could certainly try to captivate students, encourage them to make mistakes, and have fun; by helping them to enjoy exploration and help them to construct their own meaning of things and acknowledging small accomplishments. It is a wonderful feeling when students have those Ah Ha moments.

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    • Mark Wagner
      December 4, 2019 @ 2:28 pm

      It’s great when teachers have this ah ha moment too. 🙂 Good points, Pamela. There is no panacea when it comes to student agency in the classroom… it’s a power shift and a messy process. That said, there are many schools that have institutionalized personalized learning, project based learning, design thinking, 20% time, genius hour, and other systems for supporting greater student agency. And of course the teacher is still critically important in advising the student – pointing them in a meaningful direction and connecting them with resources they might not be aware of.

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