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But Will They Learn? Project 180, Day 173

Today, we change the world. Well, at least we will present our ideas for changing the world. That was the final this year in my LA 10 Honors classes: come up with plan for making a difference in our world.

And, of course, there will be no grade, which, then, takes us back to the central question that’s loomed large in room 211 this year: will there be any learning? Depends, I suppose. What is learning?

Is it cramming for hours the night before?

Is it a 2-hour comprehensive final?

Is it something that can be run through a Scantron machine?

Is it the accumulation of scores in a gradebook?

Is it the fear of failure?

Is it knowing something long enough for the test?


Is it the opportunity to create something?

Is it the collaboration among peers?

Is it the ownership of the outcome?

Is it the accountability of peer review?

Is it the power of autonomy?

Is it the freedom of choice?

Is it an experiential anchor to remember and build on?

More questions than answers. And though I am no expert on learning, I have been  a learner all my life. And as I recall those lifelong experiences, I am hard-pressed to point to any final test that contributed significantly to my enduring understanding. Learning, then, for me, has come from anchor experiences not my final tests. I know because the former are still with me, the connections remain; the latter faded away after the transaction was complete.

I am not giving my kids a grade. I, instead, gave them freedom. Wonder what they will remember years from now. Wonder if they will learn anything.

Happy Thursday, all.

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