Jami and I learned some important lessons that day, including the important motivation of looking good to one’s peers.
Even though the project that these students were given wasn’t particularly compelling for many of them, they felt it was important that they deliver. They needed to look good in front of their peers. They needed to look good for the adults, particularly if those adults were from outside their school.
The need to look good pushed them to exceed their own expectations.
Another important insight from that demo day was that you never know, when you have a room full of students, what will spark their curiosity.
While most of the students were not very interested in the challenge, there were two girls whose eyes just lit up. They found the challenges of construction design fascinating. They loved it and wanted to learn more.
When something sparks curiosity in a kid, it’s truly a magical moment. Jami saw that and realized that it was critical for her to create a learning environment that nurtured these newly ignited embers.
The final insight was the untapped potential of students teaching students. Learning could be a far more dynamic process than a simple one-way street between a teacher and the students. That one team had shown us the hidden potential of students not only as co-learners, but also as teachers.
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