Yesterday I watched a short segment on Good Morning America. A teacher (and her students) was featured as the person of the week. Giving each student a $10 bill, 20 students in all, she told them they could do anything they want with their $10. They could spend it on themselves or others. They could decide individually what to do or work as a group. The only clause was that they needed to write an essay on their decision. The end result? Over $6000 went to charities and helped their community. So, what subject was the teacher was teaching? English.
I couldn't help but be impressed. In school this semester, I've been studying learning theories, and this seemed the perfect example of combining elements of constructivism, andragogy, and motivation. The activity itself didn't teach essay composition, but the teacher noted that she expected the students to write from the heart. She gave meaning to their essays and created engagement.