The BC Ministry of Education mandates the curriculum for each grade and each subject. The Talons program provides some choices in what, when and how learners learn. The in-depth project is another example that illustrates this philosophy. The following links exemplify what happens when learners explore passions and interests that matter to them. Incidently, many of their skills match learning outcomes in electives offered at our school. In our case, learners decide what learning outcomes to address, how to assess their work, and how to represent their learning. They also set their own pace. Sometimes their project is on hold for a few weeks and other times they have a marathon session that leads to long hours of dedicated learning. What these projects have in common is learning that is in-depth, focused, intense, personal and meaningful to them at this point in time. I also believe that not everyone knows what is best for them at a certain time. Adults have a role to play in setting the course; however, learners, when given the chance, can chart their own course some of the time as well. They often take more care with their own learning when they have ownership over it. Even though their choice of projects varies widely, they are learning a lot of the same lessons:
Persevering when things get tough
Asking for help when needed
Being humble and flexible
The following learners demonstrate these skills and exemplify a great variety of projects.
Meghan is learning about make-up.
Nick is writing computer code.
Daniel is break dancing.
Louise is wire crocheting.
Emily is making jewellery.
Alvin is writing a book.
Veronica is doing vocal training.
Jennifer is reducing her ecological footprint.
Michelle is writing a story.
Jonathan is juggling.
Albert is rebuilding computers.
Sepehr is writing video scripts.
Clayton is film editing.