Trust The Children

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Just reading an article about narrative centered learning environments. This is where your lesson is a story line, and you insert the students into that story line as one of the characters. The example was an island where biological research is going on. A group of students get to visit the island as part of a field trip. While there, the biologists begin to get sick and must be quarantined. As the plague continues, the visiting science students have to take over and figure out where the sickness comes from and how to stop it. They can talk to "people" on the island. They can read the notes of the now sick scientists, and the can run experiments.

What is interesting about this was a measurement in this study of the kids attitudes (boredom, flow, confusion, frustration, delight, and surprise) while they did this lesson and how their attitudes changed or didn't change in the process of this learning experience. In this experiment, for many of the kids, there was evidence of all kinds of movement from one state of attitude to another. Some began bored, and then got into it and became delighted, etc. All except one condition. Can you guess which one? Frustration. Frustrated learners, remained frustrated learners. You just couldn't get them to transition away from frustration.

What then, creates a frustrated learner? This seems to me to be an important question to answer for home schoolers. If this study has any merit, it suggests that once a student is frustrated, it's pretty tough to get them off that stump.

Your thoughts?

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