How many of you can say you have been in the same position, needing a tutor for your child so they can successfully master the latest computer or video game? It is interesting how our kids can master these games in no time. In fact, the average 12 year old can master a new game in 37 minutes. So what happens when they go to class? Where does all that brain power go? It’s like they have unplugged the main cord and left a few frazzled wires in charge of the learning for the day.
Let’s explore what is happening in these two different environments. First, we have a child in front of a screen, left to themselves with no instruction, no teachers to spoon feed the gaming instructions and yet, as if by a miracle, they figure it out. Not only do they figure it out, but they master the information and have fun while doing it. Secondly, we have a child in a classroom with a bunch of other students and a teacher whose job is to stuff as much knowledge into each child as possible. Our children return home bored, unengaged, and hating school. They are not excited to learn and feel the information has no value or relevance to them. Sound familiar?
What if we did something radical and allowed our children to use the ‘gaming tools’ to educate themselves. That’s right, allowing them to be self taught. Let’s think about the advantages for a minute. Students become self disciplined, self managed, self confident, self aware, and the list goes on and on. If we break down what is happening when a child first receives a new game and applied the same sense of exploration and discovery to learning, the results might surprise you.
I am not advocating for bedlam in the classroom, actually it is the exact opposite. Students who are self directed with educational goals and have a solid plan to accomplish the tasks at hand continue to flourish and are better equipped for college success. Structuring the school day, like we plan our work day with deadlines and specific agendas, allows students to self direct their learning and take ownership of the process.
The pedagogy model of education is obsolete. We need to jump into the 21st century and equip our next generation with the tools they need to succeed. In the information age that we now live in, there isn’t time to wait on others to teach us the information. The pedagogy model is appropriate for students in elementary school but once a child reaches the sixth grade, it is time to make the shift to self-directed learning. When learning is interesting, meaningful, and significant, the child engages and learns. Hence the lack of Nintendo tutors!