In my opinion, our children have little free time or opportunity to delve into their own resourcefulness. Instead, their time is structured and instructional. The occasions to determine for self, devise a plan, implement a strategy limited.
Many times, I will begin my youth adventures with a simple question, “What are we doing today?” This is better than an A option or B option (which I also believe in using in more unhappy situations) because an open statement (it is easy to steer in a direction intended if necessary) allows the group to plan and further invites each student to have a vested interest.
When a group of youngsters has a vested interest guess what happens? Less boredom, less acting out, less negative classroom management. That equals more positive involvement, more educational opportunity, more reward in an activity concept.
The task was as follows. “Here is a tarp, rope and four tent stakes. Construct a shelter that would protect you from the elements.”
“Go!” Working together. Finding compromise. Sharing suggestions. Trying. Failing. Trying again. Creating. Building. Satisfied with the end result.
So many wonderful things come out of this small assignment. The kiddos didn’t ask for guidance or additional instruction. Instead, they could interpret what they heard. The kiddos were willing to try a strategy and if it didn’t meet the group standard would implement a new formula. This required working together and communication. The kiddos were problem solvers when the tools they had were insufficient. An opportunity to problem solve and implement creative thinking rallied. The kiddos determined leadership roles and tasks amongst themselves. Real life situations and requirements for life-long learning. As the activity progressed there was little concern that the task could not be completed but instead confidence and willingness to take the time necessary for team consensus and satisfaction.
Teaching styles are subjective. What works for one educator might not work for another. But, I believe a willingness to give children an opportunity to lead a program with their input is rewarding … for both student and educator.