In my GT class, each grade level meets with me once a week. The 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders do a cooperative blog post for our class blog at the end of each their GT days. A couple of months ago, one of my students wrote this:
“GT today!” is what we yelped happily this morning. We have been doing genius hour and I would replace Social Studies with time to work on reports on whatever we want. It would be fun to finally have some freedom on the things we do in school instead of a teacher walking in and saying, “We’re going to learn about blah blah blah. Yes there’s only one right answer. GT kids. Bleh. Who came up with the idea of GT. I’m going to have a talk with that rat.” I love having freedom, but most teachers don’t understand that always having that ONE answer just keeps our brains cooped up. It doesn’t help us learn very much. If kids were alowed to enjoy learning they might do it more. our teachers would have a less stressful time trying to get us to listen and learn if we had some time to learn about what we want. It would still be learning and it would be more creative because we have to keep everyone intrested by coming up with different ways of presenting the research from everyone else. I hope this change is soon made.
I asked the student and her mom for permission to publish the student’s request on this blog, and they agreed.
I’ve thought a lot about how I wanted to present this young lady’s desire for more control over her own learning and assessment. She is not the only student who has written about this in my class, and certainly not the only one to express this frustration with our education system. I have a lot to say, but I am more interested in what you think.
I would like your comments on her suggestion, particularly if you are a classroom teacher. Is it possible, even with the mandates of a required curriculum and high-stakes testing, even with classes of 22 or more students, and even within a non-flexible school day schedule, to grant this student’s request? If not, what is one change you would recommend that would make it possible? If you have done this, or seen it done, in a regular classroom, please comment on the secret ingredients to make this work.