Awake, Active, Involved
We see the students’ active participation in the learning process result in an increase in intellectual potential to make acquired information more readily practical in problem solving, the en-action of the learning activities in terms of the intrinsic reward of discovery itself, learning the heuristics of discovery and making material more readily accessible in memory (Bruner, 1961). Benefits to manifest if the limited near linear ability of our working memory to ‘trickle and instil’ data and their (changing) interrelations in our longer-term memory to allow the latter to (unconsciously) perform the knowledge-generation process it is equipped for.
Referring to the characteristics of the internet, we regard this learning to take place within ourselves and not placed nor stored outside of us – one cannot look up knowledge. Envisioning students to from early age on study future defining themes, allows for longer stretches of time to let data trickle in, to gradually collect, interpret and store information as well as conceptual relations in memory. A process also granting students many more years of time to draw from and connect with real life experiences. A time-element essential for the course of ESD as it allows the student to generate understanding of and from within herself, to gradually value values. From there a youngster can develop identity, sensing agency to be(come) active when noticing problems.
Such is far different from attempts to push sustainable development values upon youngsters from the outside in relative short term. As over 85% of students we worked with acknowledged, they feel they are expected to ‘sit up and smile’, 22% of them actually no longer minding doing so. People try to make up their own minds where it comes to the harm and protection of nature, feeling ill or unjustly informed, lacking a sense of ownership (Macnaghten & Urry, 1998). The lack of sensation of being deeply involved in sustainability and the encompassing dimension Earth, we found to relate to the students’ perception of nature as a ‘problem-zone’. They quite explicitly fed back to perceive the ‘nagging’ of parents and teachers not pleasant, nor constructive. While adults seek resolve in making sure students take nature serious by pointing out the dangers of deterioration, of things lost, of a need and urge so save, such results in a negative imaging of nature. Such was found not constructive by students who generally want to hold a cheerful outlook, observe the future in terms of opportunities, possibilities, hope – their mind open for the positive while nature is pushed upon them as a negative. How does one find time and opportunity to save a glacier in the Himalayas or care for the well-being of penguins, when facing young hopes, uncertainties and pubertal needs? Does it activate constructive learning and inform action when marching the streets on Fridays, watch the nice and cuddly Disney-resolve to bring animal life nearby and trample around with GPS-assignments?
A young Journaal 4 Reporter gives a great insight in the OPEDUCA-based education at primary school Titus Brandsma in Brunssum (Netherlands).
Students and Teachers at Titus Brandsma do a fantastic job with focus on the Inquiry Based Learning the OPEDUCA-element 'Flight for Knowledge' is based on. Watch and enjoy some fine student-action!
Spring 2017 Titus Brandsma continuous it's journey towards OPEDUCA-based education when their young students (this is Primary!) decided to have a say and a role in the re-design and re-built of the largest super-market in their community. Starting out from scratch, working on the concept for the architectural design, teams got on their way studying the Look & Feel, Logistics, Marketing and all that is part of this puzzle they will co-construct with the supermarket-manager, an Architect and all involved as Partners in Education.