Figuring it out: Giving up Control
By: J Bevacqua @jvbevacqua
This article was posted by a principal who still teaches a class. In this class he decided to allow the students to pick one topic that they really wanted to know more about. He didn’t give them a preapproved list of topics or worry them with how they were going to be graded. The students took total charge of what they really wanted to know and used several different sources in order to find the information. The author states that the students were excited to present their project which has encouraged him to let go a little and give up more control of the classroom in order to encourage their engagement.
I do like the idea of having the students pick a topic for a project and presenting it to the class. It reminds me of a menu assignment where students get several options of topics and types of assignments to complete. I do think that with elementary and middle school students this may be hard for them to want to push themselves and search deep down for a challenging question. I think I could do a modified version of this with my student’s transition project. I can allow the students to come up with a question about their job goals in high school, after college, during college, how they will get there, or any other aspect of their future job. I do think that the students would enjoy this for their final project once we have talked about several aspects of their future goals. Although this is a great idea it is going to be hard as the teacher to let go control of what they are going to do their final project on. It will be my job to encourage them to get back on track if they start expanding their topic too far and make it unmanageable but at the same time to think outside of the box.