By Leo Babauta
I am a college professor and I would like to find a way to "unschool" my classroom. Anyone know of any books, resources, to help jump start my thinking here? Thanks!
This is a wonderful question. I've heard similar sentiments from other teachers. I'd like to share a few thoughts, and hope that others can join in with their own suggestions.
Here's what I'd suggest for teachers & professors looking to "unschool" their classroom:
- Step back from the idea that you have all the knowledge they need, and that your job is to transmit it. Instead, think of your job as a way to encourage exploration by the student.
- Move away from the lecture format. Instead, see if you can get a discussion going. Get them to participate. Do some improv and other fun exercises to loosen them up and get them to be a part of the learning.
- Ask questions! Lots of them. Don't provide answers.
- Try to figure out what they're excited about. Encourage that excitement.
- See if they can work together, in pairs or teams, on thing they're excited about.
- Talk about things you've been excited about, and what you did with that. Let your passion shine through. Be an inspiration.
- Provide other inspiration, from others who've done incredible things.
- Help them explore themselves, to find what they love.
- There are no bad activities. Even TV, video games, and Facebook are outlets for things that interest them, for creativity, for learning, for playing.
- Encourage play. Play games, make everything into a game.
- Let go of control. Let things flow from them, and see where it goes.
- Get out of the classroom. Go outside, find places to play, find new sources of information and stimulation.
- Teach them to be self-sufficient. Instead of being the provider of information, let them do things on their own, and learn that they are their own authority on learning, they are capable of doing things on their own.
- Do some meta talk when appropriate. When students are unsure, talk about uncertainty. Talk about play. Talk about self-sufficiency. Talk about curiosity and exploration.
Those are just some thoughts. I really don't know what an unschooling classroom would look like, as I've never been in one. But I think it would be a fascinating experiment, and I applaud any teacher or professor who is even considering the idea.
Anyone else have some thoughts on this?