There’s been a lot of talk in recent years in the odd behavior of kids. They whine and complain about how they hate school. They don’t want to learn. But then they get out of class and blow off their school homework to work on a story they’ve been writing or to get together with friends to make a video or to build a website for that cool new band they’ve discovered. (Let’s skip right past the part where this has actually been going on for years…)
These kids take it upon themselves to learn how to create, or produce, the kind of media they want to see. They look up the tutorials. They find the tools they need. They talk with other producers on fora related to their medium of choice. And they create, sometimes prolifically, occasionally well. They take it upon themselves to learn because they need that knowledge to do what they want to do.
And when they finish their current project or their interests change, then they find something else to create that will force them to learn more…willingly.
Many teachers recognize students’ desire to create, to express themselves through a medium of their choice, and attempts are being made to incorporate more production into assignments and projects, but it’s still being done so artificially in a number of cases that these students are just as tuned out.
The thing is, being able to produce, in different media, is a skill these students will need to survive in the world beyond school. They need to know how to select a topic and then how to focus in on just what they want to share or say. They need to be able to plan out how they’re going to do it, and then to do it. And we need to accept that they’re going to learn how to do it, whether from school or the streets (as it were). We really just need to enable them and give them relevant projects to work on.