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Day 04/03/2014

returning to {rethink}ing education

Hello all! I took a brief hiatus from rethinkED…* for the past few months while I focused on my studies, but I am back and teeming with ideas about the present and future of education. Some of the topics that I hope to talk about here are:

  • Creativity – What do we mean when we tell students to “be creative”? Is creativity a stable trait or something you can teach? And why do we want people to be creative anyway? I took a course on “the development of creativity” in the fall, and I’m ready to report on some of what I learned

  • Motivation– How can we increase motivation for learning? What current practices may be detrimental to motivation? I am currently taking a course in Motivation, and I’ve already learned so many interesting things about how to motivate students.

  • Collaborative and social learning– How can we develop a cohesive social learning environment? What are the benefits to collaborative learning?

  • What does 21st century learning look like? – How has the fundamental goal of education changed in the “Information Age,” and how has it stayed the same?

At Riverdale, I’m hoping to “mess with the status quo” a bit to see how disruptions can lead to improved educational outcomes. One idea I’ve had is to try this social experiment in the hallway:

Soulpancake had pairs of strangers sit in a ball pit and learn about each other via questions and tasks written on the balls. This sort of activity actually is an intervention to promote better “intergroup contact”, or contact between people of different demographics (be it religion, race, gender). By finding commonalities and humanizing one another, activities such as these can increase unity among diverse populations. Perhaps instead of punishing younger students who are having issues getting along or fighting with one another, schools could use a supervised visit to the ball pit for them to learn more about one another.

I’m looking forward to being a more active blogger and getting re-involved on the team. Stay tuned for posts on the above topics and probably a whole lot more!

 – Jenna

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