Interest-based learning, I like the sound of that.
Having understood that interest is essential to learning and that choice plays a significant role for the learner to become interested, we need an organizing structure or format to allow for this to occur in elementary education. The traditional “teacher talking at the front, all students working on the same thing at the same time” model will not serve our purposes.
This is one of those complex life problems, where an integrated system appears and suddenly you’re dealing with much more than you expected. It’s like finding that your shin-splints from running aren’t just a matter of how you put your foot down – they relate to your poor foot arches, the strength of your hips, the muscles tissue structure in your legs…. now it’s a huge thing to address!
We’re pulling at a similar web when we talk about creating interest by toying with class structure in elementary education. The only way to have high student interest is to allow the student to select a subject area to work on at any given time. And POW! We’ve just knocked the whole thing down. Everything is connected and this domino has just been pushed.
Let every student chose what work they are going to do? How can we accommodate this? How is the teacher supposed to teach different things at the same time? How is the teacher to make lesson plans in such a system? (when you don’t know in advance what choices are going to be made?).
Clearly we need to take a step back and see the whole picture here, in order to work this through… veerryyyy slowly.
I see a new education emerging, though. Only the brave will go forward. This is surely a change in the education conversation.