Facing a homeroom of fourteen boys the other day, I posed the question:
What would you want to study if you could make up your own class?
Here is a list of some of what they came up with:
Saturday Night Live and Improv
Interestingly, all of these classes have real-life connection, immediately putting learning into context. Learning becomes relevant and practicable.
One problem with the “silos” in education is that subject-style learning tends to take learning out of real life context.
What we know about people is that they will learn anything if it helps them do something they want to do. Perhaps we need to re-think the way we categorize our learning, moving away from subjects and towards themes.
Think about the math you can learn in a programming class… or the science in a scuba diving marine biology course. Imagine the high level communication, literary, and public speaking skills a student would learn in an improv class that put on a “Saturday Night Live” type show for the school each week. The Survival Course could touch on every single subject matter– the math behind building a fort, the joy of reading alone, the biology of plants that are safe to eat, the chemistry of cleaning water. I could go on! Even the baseball hitting class provides awesome opportunities for Physical Education, Math skills with respect to angles and arcs, Physics in velocity, History of the sport of baseball and it’s cultural impacts globally and nationally, English in debating the steroid controversy… gosh! I wish I taught these classes!