Many moons ago, as a part of my grad school endeavors I had to follow a student around from class to class for an entire day. It was the longest day of my life! BUT… I realized some pertinent things –
- Students SIT ALL DAY! (Except for that 3-4 minute break heading to their next class).
- Students WRITE all day or TYPE and then in between classes they TEXT. Basically, their hands hurt by the end of the day.
- Students see different peers in every class and don’t know the names of who they spend their day with.
- Students are mentally and physically exhausted by the end of the day.
During my day shadowing a student I realized students today miss out on the socialization process we had in school. They don’t call up their friends and ask what the missing homework is – they text them or message them on Facebook or Snapchat or Twitter or whatever the new flavor is of the week. They don’t even know how to properly talk to one another – they are so used to being brazen on their phones!
My goal – in my class – was going to put the social back into social studies. No phones. Just good old fashion face to face discussions. How?
- I asked them to find a study buddy. They had to meet IN PERSON at least once a week and talk about the material in my class but also ask them about their LIVES. and this year they will have even more time to do that since I am giving up homework in my classroom. See my other post on that!
- No facebook group for my class. and no tweeting about my class. You have a question for your peers – CALL THEM ON THE PHONE.
- During class, students need to move around. I design my classroom to be interactive – don’t forget about the singing, dancing, seminars, shark tanks, baking etc. I want students on their feet at least once a day during my class.
By the end of the year students always tell me that they find value in my social experiment. Or at least a date that they made via a phone call and not a text message.