In early May, Leigh Pourciau, a Mississippi middle school teacher and teacher consultant with the National Writing Project, met up with Nirvan and Caine at Learnzillion‘s Teachfest. In the weeks since, Pourciau has been thoughtfully populating the blogosphere with ‘What Teachers Can Learn from Caine’s Arcade,‘ a series of posts about her recent experiments in the classroom.
Part 1 was about giving kids space. Part 2 challenged teachers to think like entrepreneurs. Both are must reads for parents, teachers, and anyone who is passionate about children and learning. The third installment—’Take Advice From Your Students’—may be a personal favorite. After showing her students Caine’s Arcade, Pourciau asked them to think about what Caine could “teach teachers.” Their answers are priceless.
15 Pieces of Advice from Students to Teachers
Excerpted from ‘What Teachers Can Learn from Caine’s Arcade – Part 3‘ via Democraticeducation.org:
Kenley (13) wrote, “Children just need something to love or to invest their time and energy into…we need space to try to learn for ourselves. Sometimes that’s the answer for problems.”
Melaan (14) wrote, “I’ve kind of got imagination and no use for it…I would rather be able to solve things on my own and be creative about it than be taught in a dull classroom with barely any room to grow creatively.”
Hailey (14), “I think teachers hold our hands from the beginning and have a hard time letting go, when actually they never had to hold on anyway…I mean, look at Caine! His brilliance is showing because he was given the proper tools and then provided with space to make something of them. If teachers could take this idea and fit it into our learning system at school, we’d be way better off than we are now.”
Tyler (13), “Caine can show teachers to teach kids about what they enjoy, not what you want them to enjoy.”
Clark (13), “I don’t know what we can do, but the structure of school needs to change.”
Andrew (13), “I think Caine can help teachers understand that students want to not be seen as a student but an explorer or adventurer looking for a new, fun, creative way to do things…Realize with every great thought you must go on a journey to think of it and really dig deep to go and find those emotions that make you who you are and who you want to be. Don’t let people say no. People who say no make fun of other ideas, yet they don’t have one…Even the silliest ideas can change the world as we know it.”
Alex (14), “When something fascinates you, you can be extremely smart.”
Carter (13), “If teachers don’t figure out how to help kids like Caine, we won’t ever have flying cars.”
Haley (14), “Not all intelligence comes from school subjects. Schools should be less strict on what they consider intellect. There should be more activities where there aren’t many guidelines, where the kids are able to let their imaginations run free.”
Grace (14), “Caine found out his way of learning by stretching out, by reaching out into the corners of his brain, to the places where he knew what he was sure of, and pulling out utter creativity.”
Brooke (13), “All kids are geniuses…they just need a shove in the right direction.”
Dra (14), “Without our imaginations, would we have any fun at all? Look at Walt Disney. His imagination became our vacation.”
Ben (13), “Learning is not reading textbooks. Learning is the experience of trying new things and enjoying the things you love most.”
Keionta (14), “I think Caine can teach teachers to have more range of possibilities in their work. Not to hold kids back from what they think is good or destroying their intellect. See what a kid can come up with and their possibilities before crushing them and telling them that’s not good enough.”
Color us completely inspired. Thank you Leigh and your students for the wise advice. Can we join your class now?