When I returned from Chicago recently, where I was attending a 21st C. learning summit, I was excited to hear how the eighth-graders at my school had responded to a new experiential ed initiative. In particular, I was excitedly interested to learn how the students in Synergy 8 had faired. I mean, they had had nine weeks of collaboration practice that the other eighth-graders had not had. They should be able to set the standard high for experiential education. To my surprise, however,a trusted colleague reported to me, almost in a glib way, that the Synergy 8 students had seemed more dysfunctional than the other advisement groups. “What?,” I wondered, “How could that be?” Then, other adults corroborated the stories. The Synergy 8 students seemed to suffer from more-than-usual disagreement and angst. They seemed to be victims of indecision illness. Certainly not all 24 of them, but that’s how adult after adult seemed to describe their issues.
Of course, people had higher expectations of the Synergy 8 students. Why? And why did the students fall short of the expectations? Do they want to be the problem-solving experts of the middle school, or is this just another class that takes 55 minutes a day. I look forward to discussing with the students.