What will motivate this Learner to love learning?
Like many aspects of WonderLab, I must give credit where credit is due. My friend Heather Staker, a Senior Research Fellow at the Clayton Christensen Institute, wrote a wonderful blogpost a year and a half ago positing a similar question. Her observation was that “once a student’s heart is in it, the learning happens naturally, elegantly, and quickly.” I couldn’t agree more.
Speaking of questions, WonderLab has been open two months as of today, and there is one question that I have received most from parents to date:
What will my child actually do here?
On the one hand, I’ve been a bit surprised by this, as I feel that our approach makes this clear. Through a series of initial, thoughtful exercises (again, I must give credit where credit is due, as our curriculum has been largely informed by the insightful work of the Acton Academy Team), a Learner will identify something that inspires them—something that they are passionate about. Something that their heart is in. Then, aided by the questions, encouragement and accountability of a WonderLab Mentor Guide, as well as best-in-class online and offline resources curated from top content providers, each Learner will develop a project and plan to learn more about that which inspires them.
Thus, what each individual Learner does at WonderLab will be as unique as that individual child. Put another way, we won’t know what they will do here until we give them the opportunity and freedom to discover that passion for themselves.
On the other hand, I’m not at all surprised that our approach is a bit perplexing for some parents, considering most of us understandably have a relatively low tolerance for ambiguity when it comes our kids’ education. After all, most of us grew up in schools where that which was learned was completely unambiguous—we learned to know how to read, write, add, subtract, divide and multiply in a scope and sequence that had been determined by others. So too it remains for our kids today, as most schools continue to afford very little ambiguity. Students march through a relatively fixed set of standards and assessments each day, week, and year.
Moreover, most supplemental learning experiences afford equally little ambiguity: we sign kids up for karate so they can learn karate, piano lessons to learn piano, and of course, for “learning centers” that will unambiguously improve their performance on tests and report cards via a predetermined methodology.
Yet, as more and more op-eds are proclaiming, and more leaders in business, the arts, and (insert your passion here) are modeling, it is precisely this tolerance for ambiguity—an ability to “find new opportunities or create their own”—that will best position today’s (and tomorrow’s) Learners to realize their potential and thrive.
So, though I don’t yet know what will motivate your child to love learning, or what will they do at WonderLab, I for one can’t wait to find out!
In the meantime, please ask more questions of us. Then schedule your free 20-minute consultation to begin finding your Learner's unique gifts.