I was asked to come to grade seven last week to attend “Genius Hour” presentations. Mr. Hosmar had opened up class time for quite a number of weeks that allowed students to commit themselves to investigate something of their own choosing. There were few requirements, but a key objective that was supported was to encourage reflection about the process of doing the work they set out to do. Students planned a wedding, designed shoes, created stop-motion animation, made a butterfly house, and attempted to improve basketball shots with technique. What did it make them learn, perhaps even about themselves, by doing the work? What do they now want to do? It was a pleasure to have conversations with them after their presentations and have a window in on their own learning. What they shared was less about the content of their learning, and more descriptions of how they had self-guided themselves through obstacles and challenges.
The nature and purpose of learning continues to change as we move through time. We do not “serve” content in neat ready-made packages to students, we aspire to develop patterns of exploration, reflection, and self-actualization – doing the important work of risking something new to grow in wisdom and understanding about God’s amazing world. May that learning never end. SJ