I found Shelley Wright’s The Nuts & Bolts of 21st Century Teaching, a very interesting read. In her article she explains a teaching method she does with her 10th grade students. In her approach she does not stand in front of the class lecturing about the Holocaust or read from a textbook. Instead Shelley makes the students accountable for their learning. The only guidelines shes explains and that the students will be creating their own museum and it must be about the Holocaust.
The class began by sitting down and brainstorming ideas of what they thought was most important to teach others about the Holocaust. They were then able to, with the help of Shelley, organize their ideas into three umbrella topics. They then divided up into groups to collect research. The students then had to come together to figure out how to take their three different topics and create one museum out of them.
Throughout the entire process Shelley was the facilitator rather than the teacher. She was not the know-it-all who rambled off facts to her students. Instead they were active and engaged in their own learning. They were responsible for their own education. I think this approach is VERY beneficial in the classroom. The most important lesson we can teach our students isn’t facts to memorize, but how to teach themselves and others.
Overtime we all lose the information we once learned back in elementary and secondary school, but the skills of how to learn and work with groups is a trait that we can utilize over and over again. In allowing the students to become the experts of the topic, Shelley put the education of the students in their own hands. They had to learn how to collect data, collaborate, and think critically in order to successfully create their museum.
School shouldn’t be a place where students are sat behind a desk and told to memorize information from a textbook or power point. It should be somewhere they are actively working with the content they are learning. The Ted speech Shelley attached to her blog post is especially inspiring and should be watched!