These adults of the future are never really regarded as the most capable of human beings, which could not possibly be further from the truth. Have you ever stopped to think that maybe what's going on in your student's mind might be Einstein material that even you can't grasp? That a twelve-year-old can have wisdom beyond her years bouncing around in that head that you've regarded as useless? Now of course I'm not saying that the students are smarter than the teachers, but young thoughts might just be the most innovative of them all. Which is why I've decided to share one of the innovative young thoughts that are bouncing around in my head.
A LOT of Tests.
Take a second to appreciate the play on words. I am definitely not encouraging any sort of plethora of exams and quizzes. I'm proposing a literal LOTTERY of questions. The procedure might go something like this:
- Students will learn their prescribed content as always, but they will be given the opportunity to identify the key concepts and the essential questions they have.
- Every student would write down his or her own essential question on a piece of paper.
- The teacher might have to go through the questions to make sure they are relevant, appropriate, and in-depth enough, but I would predict (possibly due to blind faith) that most of the questions would be.
- If there aren't enough papers that meet the standards you are looking for, you might need to make duplicates. Most every student should have his or her own different question.
- Then all of the questions would be put into some sort of hat or fishbowl and each student would pick an essential question.
- Then, students will respond to their prompts with thoughtful and in-depth answers.
This type of student-centered test will allow students to control their own learning.
If you happen to like this idea and choose to apply this method in your classroom, please comment with how it went. I've been thinking about ways to experiment with this but without a class or control group to see if anyone actually sees a positive change.