Shawn Cornally takes on the problem of students not enjoying school - referencing student celebration for snow days. His approach screams of the ideas of “project-based learning” that can be found in many alternative education centers - locally represented through High Tech High. I admire his approach to student projects, letting them express their interest/problem to solve and giving them a host of supports that effectively act as the curriculum through which the student completes their goals. Indeed, within my future life science classroom, I hope to employ a similar interest-driven approach though focused on the content at hand. I think the power behind Cornally’s approach is letting the students come to the school with a desire to do something, which is such a shift in dynamics from the standard school system.
What makes interest-driven learning so viable is that it does not require any “buy in” from the students and breaks the traditional mode of teacher-centered information delivery. Using personal interests to investigate real-world questions, students can affect real change in their communities and contribute to the dialogue of humanity in real ways. I would love to learn more about Cornally’s school and what takeaways there could be for a more focused approach. Not that I think Cornally’s goals for a completely freeform, interest-driven school aren’t terrific, but what if you created a similar program but specifically for the lens of say… Sustainability? All students create and contribute to projects that are wholly based on the theme of creating a more sustainable community. This is definitely more my bent as environmental outreach means a great deal to me, so perhaps this is an avenue I could pursue sometime down the road. How could environmental outreach centers gain from implementing project-based programs? It would be exciting to see students get involved with local groups that are fighting to maintain the few undeveloped environments in the San Diego area.
T. (2014). Retrieved November 17, 2016, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aldMBgT6u-4