Give students the freedom to learn!

This work is a result of our global learning journey which you can read about here:

What’s going on?

Resources shared on googledrive and students allowed to take a risk with their own learning. This is the first of several reports on the outcomes of this learning journey. Materials given to the students were challenging – a range of resources which required them to make their own route through to a conclusion. There is no correct answer to the question, so it is all the more interesting to see their work. All involved here are at The Stephen Perse Foundation, Cambridge, UK

Question: what should be included when measuring a country’s state of development?

all of the following are extracts from student work – not the full arguments – they’ve all agreed to share their ideas with the world.

Niah writes:

First, I think the most important thing to be considered is the relationship of the government and the people it’s ruling. The government should ideally reflect and represent the views of the people of their country. If the government and the public don’t agree, and the government doesn’t listen to what the public has to say; what the government says about the development of the country isn’t totally trustworthy and can be completely biased.

Secondly, it’s important to consider the how this judgement affects the people in the country. If the country is seen to be poorly developed, the country then gets classed and stereotyped by all sorts of different people. This opens up the people of that country to discrimination, disdain and contempt from others who are perhaps better off than them.

Thirdly, a question that should be raised is, “are all the reasons for calling this country undeveloped/developed justifiable?” If the judgement is based on only one part of the country, the judgement isn’t fair. The final decision should be made with the average situation in mind, and anomalies not considered.

Karen writes:

When I think about the word development I think about a change or an evolution of something. But when I think about whether a country is developed or not I normally think about its education and wealth.

Education: A large proportion of the country’s population should be educated and/or have a degree. A developed country will provide education to the majority of its population. This means that the person has a greater chance of getting a job and have a successful future. Also, most countries that provide good education for students tend to be richer than other countries i.e. Canada and Japan.

Wealth: If a country is rich as a whole then the government can invest that money into things like hospitals, schools and infrastructure. In many developing countries agriculture still accounts for the majority of the nation’s economic output, whereas in more developed countries manufacturing and service roles play a greater part. More advanced economies normally lead to better wages for the general population and are more equal in the distribution of wealth.

Azume writes:

In my opinion, when measuring a country’s state of development, there are some things that are a lot more important that others, but even the less important ones are still very important in the long run. I think that the country needs to have someone like an advisor planning for the future and without that, they can’t be a greatly developed country. I believe this because, how can a country be developed or carry on developing, without thinking about the future?

Even though I stress how important money is, I personally don’t think it is as important as planning for the future because without the plan them the money will not be well spent. In conclusion, my three top areas which need covering when measuring  a country’s development are:

1)    Planning for the future

2)    Economy

3)    Resources for disaster.

And, finally… give them some freedom and take a risk!

So, what has this shown me and what has it shown the class. These are clearly very thoughtful pieces from a class of 13 year-olds. The issue for me is that in order to gain the very best in learning, you have to be brave to give the class freedom to think for themselves. Providing the initial scaffolding is a good thing. Then both teacher and student need to be brave!


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