Ending the last year with the boys was pretty cool! We learned a lot and explored different career paths, but I knew that there was more that I could do as a educator. I never knew quite what it was, but I knew the boys were hungry for more. Multiple physics and engineering lessons were cool, but the I felt that the boys were not learning as much as they could have been.
They did what they were told to do; however, it didn’t feel that they got more out of the program than a surface level understanding. What made me think this was when the boys and I did the Verizon challenge, and the results were unbelievable. It felt completely different! The boys had been challenged to think about something that happens in their life everyday. From this challenge, I noticed that just giving the boys a task to do was too easy for them. The boys would usually complete the task them socialize as they patently waited for others to finish. Some even complained that the curriculum was something similar to school work and that they would like to learn about things related to life. So I set out to see what actually works and what doesn’t work.
The first thing I tried was a discussion group based on the topic of the day then give the boys a task to complete based on the number of students in the class. The challenging part about this determining if allowing the boys to pick their own groups was the right decision or not. Luckily enough, it was. The boys were broken up into groups of three and they had to write a business proposal based on what they feel the community needed by answering a list of questions. After each group listed their business proposal I then gave the boys an equation so they could see what I valued each company at. Only one team got their evaluation correct.
Written by: Nigel Ray