You know the deeper-learning movement is going along well when the only aspect of the holidays the children are looking forward to is not having to get up early in the morning and stick to what looks like some kind of routine. Otherwise when learning is fun then it becomes that much easier, but most importantly it’s efficient.
That’s our philosophy as new age educators who prefer to refer to ourselves as facilitators of learning. The lessons to be learned already exist and it’s merely our job to guide the learners in the right direction so that they can in a sense discover all those lessons to be learned from a comfortable position that suits them best.
As much as the lessons during the year are disguised as best as possible to be nothing more than fun tasks and projects to complete, it all comes together one more time towards the end of the academic year, with what would ideally be a project in the crafts.
I mean who would ever think the mere putting together of a photobook makes for more than just a fun activity which the learners would rather participate in than do their ‘regular’ schoolwork? Indeed it does go beyond that, starting with what is perhaps the most important lesson of them all, responsibility.
The kids are made to have to make plans to source all the materials that will go into their year-end project photobooks long before the end of the academic year approaches, many of whom actually grasp the lesson quickly, that you’d best get things done the first chance you can so as to avoid the possible consequences of procrastination.
Lessons in economics are thrown into the mix as well, which naturally encompasses learning areas such as mathematics and language comprehension as the kids are allocated a budget to work with in sourcing some of the non-essential materials which will go into their projects.
Communication skills are built up as well, with the kids required to write an essay justifying the need for the institution to fork out a little more money for some special requirements by way of the essential materials to go into the projects, which in many cases yielded some great results with some learners realising that buying in bulk works out cheaper!
It’s not just the learners who do all the learning though. As much as this project is pretty much a standard part of our curriculum for a specific grade, each year the kids come up with something which has us admitting to having learned something new ourselves as educators. For example, on a specific year, in their endeavour to find the best photobook, some of the learners used a different set of metrics for what would constitute ‘the best.’ They decided that the best wasn’t necessarily the cheapest one, but the one which involved the most interactivity – i.e. one which they could personalise the most in order for each of them to ultimately have one that is unique.
It’s amazing how many different lessons can be brought together in one seemingly simple project!