Figuring it Out
This article talks about a teacher, principal, and father who “gave up control” to his high school law class. The main point to the story is that he believes the more power you give the students, the more they will engage in learning. He took a simple project of letting them pick their own topic that they wanted to learn about, and go with it however they wanted to. There were no guidelines on how to present it, no grades were talked about. The field was open for any type of ideas that the students wanted to discover and learn about.
I really like this idea. I do something similar in my PE classes toward the end of the semester. The only difference is that I give them 5-6 different types of activity to choose from and they are allowed to pick what activity they want to participate in for the day. When students are given choices, they tend to participate better in PE at the middle school age. They are more engaged in the activity and give more effort. Which equals what I want out of them and that is full participation and getting their heart rates up for the full amount of time that we have in class. I teach them the rules and strategies at the beginning of the semester so they know how to play. Activity choice is a wonderful idea if you teach the basics and responsibility at the beginning.
There was nothing about this article that I did not agree with or have doubts about. Students like to be “in control” so to speak and giving no rules and guidelines lets them have this sense of autonomy.