Once students had picked a category they identified with — numbness, creativity, compliance, underestimation, or the average — we handed out some blank paper and asked them to draw:
What was an experience that made you lose your desire to learn?
The results were sometimes predictable, sometimes unexpected, and often hard to look at and accept.
We talked a bit about where all this was coming from — many different places, obviously. If this was had been my English class, we would have been composing essays / digital stories post haste. As this was the spring of senior advisory, however, we took a more mellow, holistic approach, talking it out in groups.
We also followed up with a second, positive prompt:
When was a time that learning came alive for you?
I have to admit, I was a little bit relieved that several of the drawings kids created were directly related to school. I also liked this one, which showed a timeline of many different influences on learning, both school-based and self-chosen:
Our final push with this activity was along the lines of, “you’re going to college soon. You probably have four more years of “formal” learning in front of you, and some more hurdles to jump with school. How are you going to heal your wounds now, and get through this?”
Of course, looking at it now, I don’t think that line of thinking pushed hard enough. In fact, I think it was sort of cowardly — asking students to accept the poor structure of school at face value and just “deal with it.”
The question I want to ask now: