In an independent research-based class, there’s a lot of free time, presumably to do work. For many kids in our class, working is an unattractive option. The other day I looked around me in Age of Ex to see a kid on my right playing “Rubber Ninjas” and the guy on my left watching South Park. I wonder why they put so little effort into things and make them look presentable, making a sub-par final result that had potential to be a ton better if they actually worked on it.
“The difference between try and triumph is a little umph.” ~Author Unknown
We’re starting a project on Political Theory in the 1600s, and we were supposed to read a 16-page excerpt from a book by Anthony Upton. It took three class periods and about an hour or so at home to finally finish it, so it’s no wonder that some people didn’t. Mike gave us about a week to do it; out of the 18 kids in our class, a couple didn’t even start it, probably around 60% of us finished it, and only a few of us took notes or really understood it much. Somehow, the loose knowledge of the reading didn’t negatively affect our class discussion. One kid who claimed he didn’t do the reading actually contributed some useful points to the discussion. When people started catching on to the main points, they contributed ideas that people who did the whole reading never thought of.
I’m not saying that my classmates and I didn’t understand the information; learning without doing the work seems to be what we’re best at. In our last project, on the Reformation, people who played games, watched TV, or constantly checked Facebook during class for the first few weeks of the project. When the final few days of the project rolled around, they sped-read some websites, slapped together a blog post or presentation, and somehow managed to make it look decent. Some of the papers I read were actually very good and insightful, although I knew they did it all in just a few days when we were given almost a month. Do distant deadlines make people more diligent about doing work on their own schedule, or just better at “winging it?” Could all my hard work be going to waste, seeming identical to that which took half the effort? I don’t think so.
I’ll admit I’m not the perfect hard-working student. Everyone needs to take breaks, let their brain rest to be able to come back to something and tackle it differently.
“I’ve got a theory that if you give 100 percent all of the time, somehow things will work out in the end.” ~Larry Bird
Larry has it partially right, but my classmates bring up another point. If you give 100 percent some of the time, things will work out pretty well too.