“What Exactly Do You Want?”

“Miss. S, what exactly do you want?” 

Well, LiD projects have you in the driver seat of your learning.. so you get to show me how YOU want to learn!

“So, do you want me to type up notes.. or do a powerpoint?”

Okay, okay, I can’t be too disappointed in these Grade 4 students – I knew how to play the game of school too and did it my whole life. But at Grade 5? Really? Is this where discovery ends and jumping through the hoops of 12 point font, 1200 words, double spaced APA style papers comes in? I hope not. Learning in Depth and time spent specifically on inquiry and student led learning couldn’t have come at a better time for these kids – and I only wished it came earlier for me.

But here we are, March 1st, six months into the LiD Kids program at this school, and students are still looking to me and asking what I want. I always look at them incredulously and exclaim: “You really want to write me an essay about your topic when you could do anything at all!? If you really want to – great! Do that! But you make sure you do what you absolutely want to do regardless of what I may think!”

In a Grade 7 class at Heath Traditional, my home away from home, a girl had a play written about the Printing Press and she even wrote a poem! One of my grade 4’s dried and pressed leaves he found on the ground! One is now building a model of a castle! These were all amazing projects done by such curious students but they were all guided into doing these activities by teachers suggestions, not an initial student thought. How can we get students to start to take charge?

I wonder if we leave these kids to their own devices they’ll come to learning their own way on their own.. Or does it have to be encouraged? I feel like if I technically give them examples of what to do – they’re still just doing what they think I want. Which is exactly what I don’t want!

Although, how can students not feel the pressure to give teachers what they want at LiD time when it’s expected in every single subject except LiD time? It’s treated as a special time that’s much different than our ‘regular’ class time. But what if it wasn’t?

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