This afternoon I had intended to attend the webinar with Will Richardson. Regardless, like many things this summer, I got the time wrong and ended up leaving the house during the presentation. @tmemann (Tannis Emann) tweeted me that it was going on and found out that the presentation was recorded and could be reviewed later. The presentation has been posted here. It’s worth checking out in that Will speaks highly to connecting leaners to real tasks through inquiry-based learning. Simply put, he was singing my song!
My favourite quote from the presentation was:
We are so focused on making sure that we get over this one bar, this one outcome, and we do this at the expense of a love of learning in out kids. Will Richardson 2011
Powerful stuff! This meshed really well with what I was reading earlier today. On the recommendation of @schwier, I checked out some stuff by Fredrick Herzberg a physiologist from the United States. A portion of his work was looking at workplaces in Pittsburgh to begin to better understand the sources of job satisfaction and dissatisfaction. One of the most interesting ideas from the wikipedia article was this:
Thus, if management wishes to increase satisfaction on the job, it should be concerned with the nature of the work itself — the opportunities it presents for gaining status, assuming responsibility, and for achieving self-realization.
With your permission I am going to disregard the business context of this research but adopt the finding into an educational context. The reason this excerpt is so interesting to me is because I have had a continued focus on engagement and motivation through my two last courses. This statement matches much of what Will Richardson stated above regarding killing the desire to learn because of the type of work and the way we assess students.
In previous posts and course essays I have proposed, much as does Will and others, that the solution is inquiry-based learning. Students who are able to explore their own wonderings, who find answers that are relevant to the world, who engage in the work of true practitioners, and develop meaningful 21st century skills exploring with learning experts are able to derive much greater satisfaction in learning and their formal education experience.
Check out this post by @Barclay_1 about photocopying. Without knowing it, we share many of the same frustrations about photocopying and the worksheet reality that exists in some classrooms. My favourite line from @Barclay_1′s post is:
If you take an average of 20 school days in a month and 20 students in each class and for argument sake 4000 pages a month, that leaves each student with 10 pages a day of photocopies.
Is that learning?Would this contribute to belonging in a classroom? If so, how?
When I think about learner’s lack of engagement in learning, and I juxtapose Will Richardson, Fredrick Herzberg’s, and John. M. Keller’s ideas about increasing satisfaction, there is no positive outcome from filling-out endless worksheets. Furthermore, this is a surefire way of killing the joy of learning in learners. Call me crazy but there are a small number of real-life tasks that require a person to be an expert worksheet fill-er out-er. It’s time to engage students in meaningful work that takes place outside of schools by real-life practitioners.