This leads me to my current struggle. I had a conversation with a student yesterday that made sleeping last night a challenge to say the least.
Background of the topic. In US History, we have finished our study of the 1950's and 1960's and I have asked the students to work in pairs (one assigned the 50's and one assigned the 60's) to debate which decade was more historically significant. They have to pick a person, event, judicial decision, cultural event and political event that is evidence that their assigned decade was more historically significant. They can choose the platform and the way that they screencast the debate for the class to eventually evaluate the strength of evidence and argument.
Here is the gist of the conversation.
S: "Adding technology to the curriculum isn't helping us get ready for the test, it just makes things more complicated."
Me: "The technology allows us to access the information at a later date, create both an audio and visual debate and then share with an audience beyond me. Beyond that, evaluating events from a decade that you feel would make it
S: "I need packets, I only learn from packets and flashcards."
Me: "Are you learning or memorizing from packets and flashcards?"
S: "I'm learning."
Me: "How do you define learning?"
S: "Knowing what I need to know for the test."
Me: "How about making flash cards that contain your talking points and that is your platform?"
S: "That's still doing what you wanted me to do."
The conversation lasted for about 25 minutes, but that is the above part is the part I am struggling with.
Here is my struggle:
I want to honor her voice in telling me the way that she learns best. I just can't make the argument that learning is happening solely from a packet. I still do packets. I have not replaced packets with projects, although I would like to lessen our reliance on packets, but that is a different conversation. All the information they needed for the test was in the packet. The project is to extend the learning and help them exercise their critical thinking muscles as well as their ability to formulate and articulate an historical argument. Not only is this a real world skill, but this will come in handy on the test in the form of the thematic essay and DBQ, but I don't think I should only be teaching them to be successful on the test. But again, that is a different conversation.
My struggle continues with the question whether she really does learn better
My other concern is that the student wants to go into a field that is solely based on collaboration and technology. How do I get her to see that she needs to branch out, be more flexible about her learning and go beyond what she thinks she will need on the test.
This is my struggle.