At the beginning of the year, we often start the year with a prompt for thinking. This year, in our high school, we were asked what we going to do to share our passion and excitement for the year. Here is my reply:
One of the things that I try to do is to twist it back onto the students. I will share a basic framework of where I would like to see the course go, but more importantly, I want to see what has motivated students to sign for my course. In the end, I want them to be able to tell me what they hope to learn and get from the class. This helps me in two major ways, one to see where their heads are and what they are passionate about. This helps me structure the course so they not only understand the basic framework and scaffolding which is essential for understanding but to also allow the students to guide their own learning.
Oftentimes this means that I have to learn or be taught by the students to help them reach the goal that they want. This is exciting, as it keeps my course fresh and new, not rote and stale.
Students often struggle with this concept of setting their own course. They have been conditioned to being told what to do and when. They become conditioned in the game of school, determining how much work will be necessary to get the good grade.
I want to teach learners, not students.