What Do Students Want To Learn?

Try It

Give students the opportunity to communicate to the school’s educators what they’re interested in learning. Then, have small teams of students review suggestions, organize and distill them, and propose ways for students to follow through and learn about these interests. Empower students to ‘teach’ these session, often giving kids a chance to demonstrate an expertise that lies beyond the subjects and assessments that define school.
You can try this on the smallest of scales — ask just one student, “What do you want to learn?” And then help them learn it. Somewhat incredibly, the push to cover content in school often robs students of the opportunity to identify and pursue what they’re interested in. Over time, this is corrosive.

Discuss It

  • How did your students respond to the challenge?
  • What surprised you about their suggestions?
  • How might you support their recommendations for taking this forward?
  • How often does your school give students the chance to identify and pursue what they want to learn? How much priority should this get?
  • How can you help a student who initially can’t come up with anything they want to learn? Almost certainly, this student was bursting with curiosity as a toddler. Where did that go?

Go Deeper

Consider taking this to a more consequential level. Challenge students to create courses, or even re-design your school. You’ll be amazed at what they come up with.