More about “Flow” in Your Classroom

Flow Theory has lots of information which can be helpful when we begin to design an optimal classroom.   We know that the classroom of tomorrow will be project-based.  A student who goes through his school-years rote-learning skills, not generalizing his learnings,  and failing to make connections between his new ideas and his real-life experience, will not make it in the job markets of tomorrow.

Tomorrow’s jobs will require 3 things:  the ability to collaborate, the ability to innovate and add value, and the ability to communicate.   The student-becoming-employee or student dreaming of entrepreneurship will have to have gained supreme Problem-Solving skills during his years of education in order to compete for the jobs of tomorrow.  He will have to have been taught to solve real-life problems.

What about the skills that the student must learn in order to pass the required tests of his high school and the entrance tests of his desired college or vocational school?  All these testable skills will still be a necessary part of each student’s dossier, but the way they are presented will change.  The skills that the student is learning will be like the tools that the carpenters need to use to build a house.  The students will have a reason to gain the skill, because  he will need to use the skill to “build” the project, which he will have helped to select.  So, if his project is to create a solar automobile and test it against other solar autos, he will need to understand and have in his toolbelt, concepts of weight, speed, and energy conversions.

The new skills will be gained because the chosen project cannot go forward without them.  The urgency of the project creates a heightened readiness to gain the new strategies that the student needs, again, so that the project can go forward.

If the student is excited to think that he may be able to communicate freely with his grandmother who lives in London, England, he is eager and quick to learn the e-ssentials of using e-mail.    Learning how to negotiate the ins and outs of e-mail is a means to connecting with his grandmother, not an end in itself.  He has a greater urgency to pick up and digest this new method of communicating.

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