Comment Challenge Day 14: Turn Your Blog Over to Your Readers

Clarence Fisher’s recent post suggests giving students the flexibility to choose what they want to learn about.  I think this is an good idea and I recommend you read more about it on his blog.

The comment challenge for today involves turning your blog over to your readers and asking them to write a post through the comment section.  So today, I’m asking readers for their take on how much choice students should have in defining curriculum.  Are there any limits?  What does choice look like for a kindergartener as opposed to an ninth grader?  Should there be any required learning?  If so, what knowledge and skills must be required?  I’m eager to hear what you think.

About Kimberly McCollum

I'm a former middle and high school science teacher and current stay at home mom.
This entry was posted in edublogosphere, Teaching and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Comment Challenge Day 14: Turn Your Blog Over to Your Readers

  1. I personally think that while schools might define the SKILLS children need to learn, HOW those skills are learned should be where the choice lies. By that I mean that we might say that young people need to learn, for example, how to conduct research, but they can learn that skill using a topic that is personally meaningful to them.

    I think it would be so much more powerful if young people were engaged as co-planners in the curriculum, where teachers were letting them participate in a meaningful way in planning what they would learn throughout a school year. This would also be a powerful way to teach young people about how to learn, something they’ll need for their entire lives. It would empower them to take greater charge of their learning and teach them how to think actively about what they will learn and how they will learn it.

  2. What she said!!!!
    This is something that I’ve long had brewing in my mind as a blog post, but one that I’ve avoided, because I didn’t know if I could do it justice. What a brilliant idea to turn it over to your readers!
    In an information age, should specific content really be the focus? Who decides the content? And why?
    This is an argument I find myself having (and losing) with many at my school. The emphasis is on coverage — covering all the content that the deciders have decided is important information. I am interested in uncoverage — teaching skills, as Michele said, sparking students’ natural curiosity and letting their questions and interests guide them.
    It saddens me to hear my very bright 7 year old daughter tell me that she hates school. It disturbed me to ask a group of 5th graders to choose a topic for a multimedia science report and find that very few had any real interest in the topics they chose. (one would say “frogs” and I would say, “ok, what do you want to know about frogs?” and she would look at me with glassy eyes…they’re not used to thinking in terms of questions or interests. They are used to spitting back information that is given to them).
    I think I’ll stop here, but I really hope more people comment as I am very interested in more discussion on this topic.

  3. Ken Allan says:

    Kia Ora Kam.

    Thanks for the opportunity to say something on this undoubtedly controversial topic. I won’t say much only that Andrea’s feelings are much like my own – I have a 14 year-old who says the same thing about school. Boring.

    Does it really matter where we go (metaphorically) when we teach? The curriculum was at one time and still is the document that defines the scope for teaching and learning. It is not a how-to document – right?

    We don’t know what kids will need 10 or 20 years from now. So what? Why should we crystal-ball gaze? My teachers didn’t. They taught me things and I learnt how to learn and think.

    Sure most of what I learnt has decayed. But I guess if they had been teaching me all the things that are now relevant today the learning within me may not necessarily be superior to what it is now.

    That’s my bit.

    Ka kite
    from Middle-earth

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