Young People Love Structure . . . Really

teacher in elementary classroom

Research implies, among other things, the need to structure schoolwork around some very simple logic: students crave hands-on work across content areas and they love to pursue their own areas of interest. Their most memorable work caused students to feel good about themselves. Impossible to miss were phrases like “I felt proud” and “I got pats on the back.”

Over the years, we have learned the following:

  • Students crave important work. All students benefit from opportunities to explore ideas for their own sake and all need to see the link between routine drill-and-practice and real-world relevancy.
  • Passive learning is not engaging. For students to sense their work is important, they need to tinker with real world problems and need opportunities to construct knowledge.
  • Hard work does not dissuade students’ enthusiasm but busywork destroys it.
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