When is the last time you went to a job interview and they asked you, “What was your classroom test score on …?” If you can’t think of a time it’s because that question never came up. What they ask instead is, “Do you have any real-life experience?” Yet our go to model in education continues to be based around tests and numbers. Heck, you can't get into university unless your numbers are good.
Maker and STEM change this. It develops hands-on skills that will transfer to later hobbies, education and jobs that are of interest to the child. Learning becomes more meaningful on all accounts.
2. Failing in order to succeed
You run a spelling test and a kid gets more than half wrong. The child then shuts down, slouches his/her shoulders and whispers quietly “I’m not smart.” Kids say that enough and they start to believe it. What ensues is hatred to spelling due to the fear of being inferior. Now feel free to substitute spelling with any other subject in school.
Maker and STEM change this. While students are building they constantly run into problems. But instead of thinking of it as a failure they, without thought, overcome it and create solutions. Moreover, they will learn to predict future problems, or “what if’s?” that need answering. Don Wettrick states in his book that these scenarios not only keep kids on target but also excite them to want to keep improving. The result is a growth mindset that spreads through all school activities, and real-life circumstances.
To all anti-change educators, I am very sorry to tell you this, worksheets don’t excite many. Your students don’t line-up outside the door chatting about how excited and moved they were reading a textbook and taking notes.
Maker and STEM change this. Children have a natural inclination to learn by doing. Don’t believe me? Just think about your favourite time in school. Was it centres during kindergarten? Thought so, mine too. Secretly, I must admit, I also love playing in the toy room with my three boys. Creating and building structures, plans, etc. stimulate excitement and I constantly think, what can I build next? Kids are the same. Bring out the hands-on “toys” and watch engagement skyrocket. Next you will witness your students salivate at the opportunity to learn. How cool is that concept.