Teachers are responsible for arguably one of the most important jobs in our society: teaching the next generation. While the goal for hopefully all teachers is to teach their students to the best of their ability, sometimes the method in which they teach interferes with the student’s overall success in the classroom.
Furthermore, not all students are wired the same. Some may learn best when a teacher is up in front of the class lecturing while others benefit more from independent projects. And as the end of the school year nears, many students at Prairie are frustrated with ‘busy-work’.
This term is used by students to describe work that, in their opinion, is assigned by teachers with the intention to just give them something to do during class. ‘Busy-work’ is commonly referred to as assignments that lack any actual point and do little to nothing to advance the learning of those that complete the work.
“[Busy work is] School or homework that is given out by teachers simply for the sake of having their students do something. There is little actual merit in the work itself and students do not benefit much from how much time they put into it,” explains a member of the student body.
Most students find this type of work repetitive, and while they are fully capable of doing the work, they don’t get anything out of it.
This work is usually in the form of web quests or worksheets paired with readings. This is usually time-consuming and most students simply search for the answers to the questions to get the dreaded work done with as quick as possible.
It is one thing to state a problem, but another to address it. Since students are the consumers of the learning, students also know which forms of learning work best for them.
When Prairie students were asked about this, most students expressed how well they learned when they were doing independent project-based assignments. Projects allow students more creative freedoms if they wish to demonstrate or share their learning through more artistic or unconventional forms but these projects can also be more structured and straightforward for students that prefer a more guided, step by step learning. These type of projects accommodate the needs of students on all ends of the spectrum which is why so many students learn best when doing them.
“[We should add] Anything more personable. A student should be able to have some creative freedoms when it comes to approaching a project or a lesson. As long as they learn, it should be fine,” elaborates a Prairie student.
In addition to the independent projects, many students also shared their desire for more hands-on activities that get them moving in the classroom. Many students feel trapped within their computer and confined in their desk. They think that teachers should try and veer away from using electronics as often as they do because sometimes a paper and pencil can go a long way.
There is always room for improvement and the learning environment here at Prairie is no exception. The voice of students has been heard and hopefully, teachers will take the advice and take their teaching to the next level.