Some student’s do incredible things in high school, but what I’ve found is that this only happens when a student has a “clicking point”. The point where they realize for themselves that there is more to learning than just school, and that they have the capability to do these incredible things as a teenager even.
Not all students have this realization. Not everyone feels motivated to take projects and make them more than just “a school thing.” Not everyone is passionate enough to put forth the extra effort to “make a difference.” Not everyone sees the relation to the “real world” and the purpose behind some steps we take in order to do meaningful work.
Some students do though. And this post isn’t just to talk about Innovation Diploma students, because frankly while many students in ID have had their “click moment”, not everyone has, and there are several outside of ID who have also had this moment. One of my best friends, Emily Moseley, is one of those people that has had her “click moment.”
Last year she was in the first semester ever of a new course offered at MVPS called TED: Technology, Engineering, and Design taught by one of my mentors TJ Edwards. In this course they ended up creating a 3D printed prosthetic hand for another high schooler from a outside of MVPS named Alex. From what I’ve heard, this project went incredibly well, and has inspired Emily to actually continue on similar projects outside of this class. She has even set big goals for herself as she continues to work on this project this year, which is described in more depth in an article that came out today about her and her work.
What is it that causes some students to have this “clicking moment”? I mean I feel like it’s almost like asking “what makes a good student?” If you were to look at a school, people will sometimes say subjective things like “oh that’s a good student/teacher”, but what does that mean? What are some students doing that makes people think they are a “good student”?
Personally I believe part of what makes a “good student” isn’t about the grades they get or test scores they receive, but it is about the drive and motivation they have for learning and the desire to do meaningful work.
But how might we support other students in a way that allows them to and develop a desire to learn and act upon ideas further than just a “school project” level? While obviously on some level a student must be the one to make this mindset shift, I think we can help by providing opportunities for students to have their “clicking points”.
I’m not going to lie, this post may feel unfinished because I didn’t give examples as to how we would actually create these opportunities. But I don’t have all of the answers. I don’t know what these experiences look like…yet. I’ve constantly been wrestling with these questions, and I hope to do more investigation at some point by talking to students about what their clicking point looked liked. I hope maybe that will provide some insights on how to help support others on their journeys.