How many times, as you sat in your classes, did you say, I’ll never use this in real life and in the work I want to do? The eager-to-be engaged student asks, Once you know about me, do you make an effort to use what you know to engage me in productive learning? to build on my strengths? to develop my talents? Do you help me see what you are teaching as helping me achieve my career and life aspirations?
Relevance is a powerful way to engage reluctant learners. One of our Big Picture Learning students interned at a small local airport for four years. He was always making stuff, wooden bowls on lathes, pens, go-karts, and so on. Through an internship, he learned how to repair and maintain plane engines and fuselages, studied for his pilot’s license, and became an integral part of the airport mechanic/engineer/maintenance team. He was hired to work summers, vacations, and beyond his internship hours. He is now in school to become a certified diesel mechanic.
Do I find what the school is teaching to be relevant to my interests, including my career interests?
Do my teachers help me to understand how my learning and work contributes to my community and to the world?
Does you take students’ interests, particularly career interests, into account in designing learning opportunities?
Does the school help students to understand how their learning and work contribute to their communities and to the world?
Do I find what I am teaching to be relevant to my students’ interests, including their career interests?
Do I help my students to understand how their learning and work contributes to their community and to the world?