it seems obvious, but we seldom do it - allow students to have ownership of their 'projects' at school. by immersing ourselves in conversation with the children and actually listening to them, we may be able to find out what it is that they actually find engaging. once we ourselves have started to 'hear' the children, we might be able to help them come up with some meaningful questions, based on their interests or concerns about the world that they inhabit. these questions could then be used to develop inquiry-based learning experiences, driven by the need to solve a problem that is real to the students an dtheir world, rather than manufactured or directed by a teacher. quite frankly we teachers probably have very little idea of what is going on in the minds of the students most of the time. we also come from a different model of education that was designed to fit a different world. that world has changed and is changing more rapidly all time. we need to tune in to be able to engage them and help them become purposeful, powerful learners.
ask yourself - what is learning? what do/will 21st C kids need to know? or more appropriately, what do they need to know how to do? 20th C 'facts' they need less than 21st C attitudes, skills and understandings. let's put away our ego, relinquish some control and allow the children the opportunity to ask the questions they want to ask. let them own their education. teach them how to engage in it for themselves. they will still need us to model, guide, encourage, etc.
what do you think?