Wednesday, August 06, 2008

The Crisis of Significance

The Crisis of Significance is a quote from Dr. Michael Wesch's talk to the University of Manitoba on June 17th. Man he was so close yet I wasn't there. Maybe next time.

The "Crisis of Significance" is introduced at the 7:50 minute mark of the talk. Dr. Wesch is talking about questions students ask in class.

Now he is talking about University students but man the same questions are asked in Grade 8 math.
  1. How many points is this worth?
  2. How long does this paper need to be?
  3. What do we need to know for this test?
These questions all go back to the learning process. Earlier in his presentation he asked his students how many were enjoying the school experience and only a few raised their hands. But when this was rephrased as how many enjoy learning all hands were raised.

All of this (I have only watched the first 8 minutes) is hitting home during this preseason before school starts. My students ask similar questions and feel the same way about school.

What can we do as educators to make the learning experience more pleasing and intrinsically motivating for students. I have been blogging and using wikis for 3 years and this will be my 4th. Still most students do not feel the intrinsic need to learn for the sake of learning. They are there to get a number on a test and a report card.

What is needed to get the majority of students to learn for the sake of learning?

My next few days will be all about trying to create a course where students ask questions when they do not understand a concept instead of just sitting there like a goldfish.

I have by chance thank you Alec and Dean been watching Dr. Wesch over the past 2 days. Perhaps you should too.

The talk that got me searching

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