Dangerous Questions?

The first blog up on my tool bar that I check everyday is Scott Mcleod’s Dangerously Irrelevant. In his last post he referenced an entry from Michael Wesh’s blog in which he asked his students two questions.

I took an informal “raise your hand” survey of my 200 Intro students.

Me: “How many of you do not actually *like* school?”
… just over half(!) raise their hands

Me: “How many of you do not like learning?”
… no hands

I bet that if you asked teachers, students, and parents to respond to the results you would get very different answers. Over at Dangerously Irrelevant Scott wrote:

These two questions would be great conversation starters regarding the difference between school and learning. I wonder how many middle and high schools would see little difference in their results for these two questions. I’m guessing very few…

Maybe I am too shallow but I just got mad. It ticks me off that the first question isn’t one of the first things parents and teachers ask…”Do you like school?” It should also drive lesson planning — “Will my students like this lesson?” I ask my kids when they are working on something — “Do you like what you are writing? No…then stop and let’s change things.” When they are planning a presentation — “Would you like to sit and listen to your own presentation? If no, then stop and change things.” Will students like the lesson you are planning? If no, stop. Stop and change what you were planning. Why would you plan something and make them do something you know they would not enjoy?

Grrrrr……


2 thoughts on “Dangerous Questions?

  1. Thanks for the kind words about Dangerously Irrelevant.

    I appreciate what you’re saying here. I think it goes back to some of the discussions that have been occurring in the edublogosphere about the difference between ‘entertainment’ and ‘engagement.’ You and I are talking about engaged learning. Recalcitrant teachers think we want them to just be shallowly entertaining, without substance. Someone has to help them see the difference (can you say ‘administrators?’).

    Of course, as Alfie Kohn notes so well in his writing, there are many, many folks out there that think there should be elements of pain and difficulty in education in order for it to be worthwhile…

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