Gaming to re-engage boys in school

“If a child can’t learn the way we  teach, maybe we should teach the way they learn.”

-Ignacio Estrada

The disengagement of boys in our education system has become such old news that — yawn — we barely register it anymore. Rather, we diagnose their need for stimulation as a hyperactive disorder and medicate it. We diagnose their disinterest in our recommended texts as a disability and track them into special classes designed to focus on their shortcomings. The unending focus on deficits leaves them even more disenfranchised than they were and the vicious cycle continues.

But what if we are getting it wrong? What if we are forcing them to learn the way we teach, rather than teaching the way they learn? In the below TEDtalk, Ali Carr-Chellman, “an instructional designer and author who studies the most effective ways to teach kids and to make changes at school,” shares her ideas for re-engaging boys. The deceptively simple technique she recommends is — low and behold — proving effective for a wide range of disengaged learners: “Bring their culture into the classroom.”

In the case of boys, she recommends a bit of gaming. Check it out:

Year at Mission Hill, Chapter 5: The Eye of the Dragon

missionhillSo much of the language that we know to be valuable in education comes alive at Mission Hill. Art. Empowerment. Choice. Voice. Inspiration. Creativity. Student experts. Student teachers. Community.

Every year they employ a school wide theme that aims for depth and breadth throughout the school. This year’s, “Long Ago and Far Away,” and the students share a seam of study (though not necessarily specific content) that everyone can relate to, no matter the age.

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