The most memorable learning experience I had in school was in my 9th grade English class. We were divided into groups and each group had to reinterpret a certain portion of Beowulf to perform in front of the class. This assignment was more challenging than any test or essay would have been because we had come up with dialogue, costumes, choreography that portrayed the plot of the story; we had to translate the story and create something new instead of giving the teacher the expected answers to a test. This assignment helped me translate stories and assignments into terms that I can understand. It also helped me become more open-minded and willing to look at situations with several point of views. Communication played a huge role in that assignment. Everyone had to work together to make sure the script and performance came together successfully. We also learned a lot about ourselves and each other; we found hidden strengths and weaknesses.
The kids in Mrs. Davidson’s class learned so well because she taught them in ways that made sense to them. Not everyone can sit in a lecture and absorb and process everything the professor said. She made learning a game and a challenge that the students were willing to accept (83). If learning can be disguised as a game where children are having fun while applying their algebra and physics, then they will be able to remember these lessons and apply them for the rest of their lives.
I completely agree with the author when she discusses standardized testing; how are we supposed to learn by giving the answers we’re supposed to give; it doesn’t allow us to think for ourselves, we’re thinking in the way that our teachers are telling us to think. “College is a place to learn how to educate oneself rather than a place in which to be educated” (116). This is why I loved that Beowulf assignment in the 9th grade; we had freedom to interpret the story in our own way. That activity tested our abilities more than any SAT or ACT ever did or could.
I think an appropriate boss-level challenge for this class would be to produce a skit that shows the effects that the media has on culture or vice versa. We all know several examples on how Facebook or the news affects our culture, but I think it would be a good idea if we came up with our own scenarios to show that we understand how the media affects culture.
Written by Olivia Bradburn