Shut up & Listen

ShutUpStudent engagement is critical as we move students through the Project Based Learning experience.  How do we capture students, hold students attention and prepare them for the transition to the world after high school?

I recently listened to a TED presentation by Ernesto Sirolli entitled “Want to Help Someone? Shut up and Listen,” about how we as supporters of world development need to listen to the “natives” in order to respond to their needs instead of giving them a “product” that we think they need.  This made me think about the students that we work with.  Am I truly listening to their needs, wants, and/or desires?  I’m purporting that we first need to listen and listen carefully to our students’ voices.  This will capture students.

When needing to hold their attention, we need to have differentiated instruction that is accomplished through a well-planned PBL unit.  Focusing on essential standards and building a project with student voice and choice is critical.

And finally, through student engagement and involvement the transition to “the world” will be easier.  They will know how to engage in their own learning, seek answers to difficult questions and be an active participant in life-long learning.

What are your experiences, ideas, and comments?  What have you found that captures motivates and prepares student for life?  Thanks for letting me know.

Penny S. Williams,  Youth Development Coordinator, PBL Trainer

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