Joined: 19 Oct 2011
Bobby isn’t the best student. He doesn’t get all As. He is not always interested in what the teacher has to say. Socially, he’s awkward.
However, there is one thing Bobby loves, and that’s technology—and he’s good at it. This boy wants to know everything about computers, how they work, what they look like inside, how to repair them. In between lessons, he fixes the teacher’s computers.
Bobby also assists the school’s technology person, installing keyboards, batteries and completing other maintenance.
But Bobby has developed a bigger goal. He has his sights set on establishing a group of students, who he will train to help with the computer repairs, a tech kids program, if you will.
To reach his goal, Bobby will have to do what professionals in the working world do everyday, convince their superiors of the value of his idea and gain their support in implementing it. Therefore, his next step has become to create a cracker jack PowerPoint slide, selling his proposal to the school administration.
That’s where the point of this blog comes in. With a quick search of the Internet, Bobby can read about how professionals in sales and other fields craft a winning PowerPoint, then he can use this as a guide to create his own product.
In other words, he is learning to use the same methodology that professionals use in their respected fields to get results. This is a researched-based practice, which has been studied by gifted education expert, Joseph Renzulli
The best part is the principle can be expanded to any field or subject. If a student is designing a magazine or newspaper, she can learn the process that professional journalists use to put together that product. A class interested in designing roller coasters or bridges as part of a science project can study the ways engineers build these structures.
The Internet provides an unlimited supply of how-to-articles and resources that help students study the crafts of various professions. In addition, there are numerous how-to books for children that teach everything from how to publish a book to starting your own business.
While the scale and complexity might be different, there is no reason why students can’t act like professionals when conducting a research-based project or designing a product.
Here is another example: Right now, one of my gifted second-grade students is applying for a LEGO grant so he can have his classmates take part in a castle-building project. As part of the process, I am guiding him through completing a simplified lesson plan, just as a teacher would be required to do when applying for a grant. He will then have a better understanding of how educators craft a lesson: start with an objective and standards, consider materials and resources, select about instructional methods, then assess whether the lesson was successful.
Whenever students set upon a task, they should utilize the same approach and methods (whenever possible) as professionals in that field would use. In the process, they learn valuable, real-world skills, and they will produce a much higher quality project than if they are limited to the traditional research and learning methods in classrooms.
To discuss this topic, please visit the Innovative Teaching group at http://community.educationworld.com/content/act-professional-0?gid=NTEyMQ==