Let me start by saying that I know all teachers are different, all students are different and therefore there is not such a thing as a model that would work for every teacher, let alone every student. This constructionism theory does not pretend to be a one-size-fits-all type of solution.
For some time now I have been trying to incorporate a series of techniques and strategies into my classroom, PBL, Three Acts Math and many other strategies that I have come across and that seemed interesting to try with my classes. In the process of implementing this strategies I found that many times what I had tried with one group would not work with the other. While it is expected that there would be differences between one group and another, one would also expect that there would be some common ground.
A little while ago I came across a very interesting book, Invent to Learn, that put the whole thing in a new perspective for me. The book starts by making the case, historically and pedagogically, for why it makes sense to develop a culture of making in the classroom. Making is in essence what education should be about, in the process of making learning occurs, not as an isolated event but as a social one. Information takes relevance when making, as it is not about the information in itself, it is about what we do with that information.
This theory places everything in context for my students as it gives them the answer to the ever recurring question, what do we use this for?, What is more, my students are now engaged with their learning as there is something tangible and shareable to create as we make.
This is a model that can be followed by any teacher, regardless of the subject being taught or the grade that we teach, we all are capable of making something, poetry, painting, robotics, you name it. When making, the learning becomes a by-product, and while it might seem counter-intuitive, my students seem to learn more when not thinking about learning. Whether a math teacher or a theater teacher, we can all provide the necessary opportunity for our students to make something in the classroom.
Share with us, what’s the strategy that works the best for you?