The entire current issue of “Educational Leadership” (ASCD, March 2008) discusses “Reaching Reluctant Students.” (You can hear the audio introduction of this issue by editor Marge Scherer). In this issue are a goldmine of thought-provoking articles such as: engaging students around the globe, testing the joy out of learning, cultivating optimism in the classroom, sustaining the fire, the wounded student, beneath the apathy and others. All articles are worth the time to read…and then think about how the use of technology and online tools might better engage all learners – both teachers and students.
The article that initially caught my eye was entitled “Turning on the lights” by Marc Prensky. He starts out his article with the line “For most of history, kids grew up in the dark intellectually.” He explains how most kids grew up in their homes until the age of 5 and then ventured out into the world called school. “As you advanced in the grades, the window opened wider, and more and more light shone in.” And then he says that was ok for the 20th century, but now we’re in the 21st century and “Today’s kids grow up in the light. They’re deeply immersed in it long before educators ever see them.” And, then he continues later in the article with “schools have decided that ll the light the surrounds kids – that is, their electornic connections to the world – is somehow detrimental to their education.” So, schools prohibit all student connections – no cell phones, no music players, no Internet, not game machines, etc. “The reality is that students are for the most part, bored.” Prensky ends his article suggesting four important practices entitled: “How to Turn On the Lights”
- Give student the opportunity to use technology in school
- Find out how students want to be taught
- Connect student to the world
- Understand where kids are going – that is, into the future – and help them get there.
Excellent suggestions! They dove-tail with how to prevent students from dropping out of school. One of the most recent reports from the California Dropout Research Project entitled “Giving a Student Voice to California’s Dropout Crisis” suggests the same strategy for reaching students who are in danger of dropping out or who have dropped out.
And, on a related note, the March 2009 topic of “Educational Leadership” is entitled Literacy 2.0 – articles are due by September 2008. Literacy 2.0 and reaching reluctant readers have a log in common – start your articles now!
The ASCD blog also includes a wealth of information as well.