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Patricia Ruvalcaba

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How can SOLEs be implemented without causing students to shun necessary but "boring" skills?

I remember when I was in 8th grade and a classmate asked me point-black what was the purpose of geography. Let me tell you, my answer of "so you know the climate of the country you are visiting or where is it" was utter rubish - both to my classmate and to me, but that was the only thing I could think of that she could actually relate to (two months later, she move to New Zealand).
In school, we are taught many things that we may not WANT to know, but that we NEED to know. Examples: grammar, composition, history, geography, mental maths, etc. Also, there are also many subjects for which we know the bare minimum (learnt at school) because we never give ourselves the time to learn about even if we know they are important (not many people actually read their country's constitution) or interesting (ethics, philosophy, art, etc.)

So... how ca SOLEs include these subjects without going against their principle (learning through self-motivation, not through imposition)

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  • Mar 17 2013: The skills on your list are only in fact "necessary" or "boring" if learners deem them so. Children will either learn them because they don't find them boring or they find them necessary to accomplish something else they find interesting. The task of a SOLE facilitator is to curate materials that are rich targets for the children's curiosity.

    Consider the case that Mitra presented in which the children learned about microbiology from material written in English. Here was a task that was so hard that the children received little inherent reward from studying it - one of the "boring" skills situations you're concerned about. The solution was to arrange for a teacher (who knew nothing of the subject or computer skills herself) to pay attention to the children and praise them for pursuing such a difficult problem. With such encouragement children will succeed in solving even ridiculously difficult problems.

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