Capturing student interest to drive learning

During the setting up process for EDC3100 and ensuring I have all the essential “tools” operational to commence this course, it became obvious that I was thinking about, using and describing resources which I had never heard of before (nor had had any real interest in).  This led me to consider the students we work with and our frantic attempts to engage them in learning about topics which may hold little interest for them.

I came across an interesting blog at blogs.kqed.org/mindshift/2013/11/how-the-power-of-interest-drives-learning.   The author explains research showing how “new and complex things are interesting provided that people feel able to comprehend them and master the challenges that they pose”.  She goes on to describe the way motivation to learn begins through developing a sense of curiosity.

John Dewey (1913) wrote that “a child’s character, knowledge and skill are not reconstructed by sitting in a room where events happen.  Events must happen to him, in a way to bring a full and interested response” (Interest and Effort in Education).  This struck a chord with me as working with children with special needs, we always try to link in to students interests in order to build a rapport and a common ground to work with and base their required tasks on.

Saranna posted a blog, I’m all about the VAK, bout the VAK ….. about meeting the learning needs of all students and I felt this tied in nicely to what I had been considering in regards to teaching to students’ interests.  The cultivation of a sense of curiosity where student interests are encouraged and students become self-directed learners also fits with Constructivist theories which I have tried to incorporate throughout most of my professional experience placements.  I hold a great belief in developing a sense of what students’ interests are and feel a responsibility to foster these.  Noeni also mentions in Theories I’ve used, has also tried to incorporate constructivism into her teaching.

With the inclusion of ICTs in my teaching, I hope to take student interests to the extent where they will be able to access more information to feed their curiosity in learning.   I hope to anyway!

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