After school on Friday the 16th of February, I was asked to help supervise a student’s video project. The student had booked the theatre, ensured there were the correct props and costumes, found two students to act and another to be the videographer, got all the equipment, and scheduled everyone to be ready at 2:40pm. The students worked solidly for 2 hours until 5pm when one had to go to a movie. During this time, there was not one argument or disagreement. The worse that happened was two of the team pretended to have a sword fight with a prop; it quickly ended 30 seconds after it started when one got an uncomfortable poke. Throughout the filming the students collaborated to problem solve without one argument.
Did I mention it was after school on Friday?
I ‘supervised’ with another teacher, but truthfully, I did very little other than make sure they were safe. Weeks before I had prompted the student in charge to consider creating a short video for the Across Asia Youth Film Festival. He was reluctant to rush his current project, but I thought he could enter a short film in the under 3 minute category. We discussed possible topics and when we got to the possibilities of humorous stories around the game of chess; he was hooked. Two days later he had a script for a short video entitled 'The Move' and was consulting the DP Film teacher about the storyline and setting.
As I sat there in the theatre marvelling at how well the students were working together I couldn’t help but think that this is how school should be. A place where student find projects they want to work on and then complete those activities until they are finished. If this were a class held during the normal school day, it would have taken 3, 60 minute periods (because set up and take down would consume 15-20 minutes each time) over at least a week; a momentum killer.
Imagine if students came and went from school as and when they needed to. No required hours, no bells to mark blocks of time, no forced deadlines to complete tasks. Instead, students organizing their activities and working on them until they are done, the only deadlines and criteria being the ones that they value.
This anecdote heightened my sense of the potential for the future of learning and education; it gave me hope. Is it any wonder that this activity occurred after school hours?
Image Credit: Checkmated - Chess Figures CC0 - Pixabay