Instead of the teacher having all the answers, students are developing inquiry skills
In my future forums class, we’re writing magazines and teaching civics with the Civic Mirror curriculum. With the magazine there are three Chief editors who are running classes; in charge of supervising their peers, collecting articles, editing, etc.. In the CM curriculum, there’s a similar situation where students are running classes acting as the government of our fictional nation, Fruitopia, and again, I am observing from the sidelines.
I find it difficult to release control and let students take leadership and supervise their peers. Partly because I know which students need a little more direct supervision and motivation to use their time productively. These classes are messy. Students are talking over one another, interrupting, and the collaboration process is slow; but it’s out of this messiness comes a lot of teachable moments.
Students excel by doing. Independence and leadership in the digital world is quickly becoming a theme of this course. Instead of the teacher having all the answers, students are developing inquiry skills and finding their own answers with the resources available to them. They are frustrated at times, and we’re learning the differences between reliable and unreliable sites together. Meaningful learning is happening in these messy, frustrating moments.
So teachers, even when you have all of the answers, let students explore and learn for themselves. If we carry teens everywhere from infancy, they’d never learn to walk. In the digital world, teens are already running rampant. Lets take these instances that are already online (in public forums like twitter), put them on a projector and make them teachable moments for all. In the end, the goal is they know how to walk responsibly, dance gracefully, and model this behaviour for their peers.