Rant of the Androgogue (public high school pt. 2)

In my line of work, there is a lot of discussion about “pedagogy” v. “androgogy” (thank you, Dr. Knowles) – basically the differences in how children learn v. how adults learn. I won’t bore you.

But the question that always interests me is, of course – what about our teens? How do they learn best? 

 Ubiquitous chandeeregreen ***disclaimer*** : I know that there are many many many high school teachers out there doing much better and more interesting things than the “pedagogy” example listed below. But I don’t think the majority are. Sorry. Just haven’t seen it much.

Social science pedagogy: Assign a textbook reading on Maslow. Use class time to draw a pyramid on the board and lecture through the hierarchy of needs. Give a pop quiz at the end of the week.
Social science androgogy: Give students – groups of four to six – 3/4 of a class period to come up with a Lord of the Flies list.  You and your classmates are stranded on a deserted island in a shipwreck, have to establish a civilization that meets everyone’s needs. What must happen? Prioritize it.
Use the last quarter of the class period to fit their ideas into the hierarchy of needs.

How much of high school still relies on listening to class lecture, taking notes, reading text, and taking written tests? How many students thrive in that environment and emerge well prepared to function as adult members of our society?

Can we do better? And does the question of whether teens should be treated (and educated) like children, like adults, or like a special entity of their very own have anything to do with doing better?

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