If school is supposed to prepare kids for real life, then why doesn’t school look more like real life?
This question lives at the heart of my research for the past decade. This question largely drives my work.
Many people ask me, “So, Bo, what do you mean by ‘real life?'”
Well, one aspect of blurring the lines between school and real life involves reimagining the kind of work that students engage in during their school experience. What if more of the student work had real-life application? What if more of the student work were aimed at targets well beyond the grade-book columns and end-of-year locker clean outs?
For example, what about the question, “Paper or plastic?” You know – at the grocery store. How should we respond to that question at the conveyor-belted check-out counter? (If, of course, we don’t bring our own reusable bags.)
From that question, a group of student designers and solution seekers might find themselves on a path leading to the investigation of the refrigerator and the crisper drawer.
“What?!” You might ask. What if student-learners actually worked on product design for such things as refrigerators, water boilers, etc.? What if students really knew the best answers to “Paper or plastic?”
Watch this TED talk from Leyla Acaroglu, and you might just see what I’m talking about – what I dream about…
Student-learners engaging in real-life work that goes well beyond a grade in a grade book and provides the weave-work and relevancy hooks that integrate and amplify the core purposes of our school-segregated subject areas. Work that recognizes and respects the systems of which our products and our persons are all parts of the whole…