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Learning As An Act Of Rebellion

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As regular readers know, the challenge of helping students develop intrinsic motivation to learn is constantly on my mind (see The Best Posts & Articles On “Motivating” Students).

Recently, I’ve been thinking of another strategy to use with students – framing learning as an act of rebellion.

I was prompted to initially think about this by Study: Teens are more likely to eat healthy if they think it’s rebellious.

Next, I began thinking about applying it to reading (see Help Me Create A Series Of Lessons On “Reading As An Act Of Rebellion” (Or Let Me Know If You Have One Already) ).

Then, this week I saw this article: Learning a second language isn’t just good for your brain—it’s good for democracy, too

And a New Yorker cartoon running this week also seemed to relate to the idea:

I don’t think this framing is really a “gimmick” – the challenges of racism (see A Collection Of Useful Posts, Articles & Videos On Race & Racism – Help Me Find More); economic and wealth inequality (see The Best Resources About Wealth & Income Inequality) and other socio-economic issues (see The Best Places To Learn What Impact A Teacher (& Outside Factors) Have On Student Achievement) are clearly apparent to them and everyone else.

And though education is clearly not a direct route around those challenges (see The Best Resources On Why Improving Education Is Not THE Answer To Poverty & Inequality), it can be a partial answer, especially if we help our students develop the tools needed for them to become “active citizens” (see A Look Back: “Yes, Schools Should Develop Active Citizens &, No, We Don’t Need Another Test To Do It”).

I’ve applied a bit of this frame when teaching about “fake news,” and it seemed to be effective.  And it’s pretty easy to use the same frame in IB Theory of Knowledge classes.  The next time I teach an intervention or mainstream ninth-grade English class, I think I’ll try to use it that frame more strategically.

What do you think?  Have you used this “frame”? How has it gone?

Author: Larry Ferlazzo

I'm a high school teacher in Sacramento, CA.

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