Writing for MakeZine, Phil Shapiro notes that human beings are capable of learning in many different ways. However, says Shapiro, some methods of learning are clearly more tedious and stressful than others.
“Learning by Making is [a] more humane way [and] starts with learners having a purpose. They seek to create something, and in the process, they acquire the skills to do so,” Shapiro explained.
“When they learn by Making (often called project-based learning), the learning sticks because they have a reason for doing it. It’s the exact opposite of cramming their heads with stuff that they may never need or use in their lives.”
According to Shapiro, teachers who incorporate Making into their teaching are not at all interested in what their students cannot do. Rather, they tend to focus on the positive, emphasizing what their students are able to do.
“Teachers who incorporate Making follow the tradition of Annie Sullivan, who taught Helen Keller sign language,” Shapiro continues.
“The fact that Helen Keller was deaf and blind was irrelevant to Annie Sullivan. She sought a way to unlock Helen Keller’s language abilities and succeeded in that venture.”
As Shapiro points, huge numbers of students are dropping out of high schools across the United States. Can the problem be solved by urging students to stay school? Perhaps in some cases, says Shapiro, although a more realistic answer would probably be to make schools a place where students really wanted to be. Shapiro concludes his MakeZine article by recommending that all schools – whether public or private – adopt the Maker way of learning.
“If we changed our teaching methods from sit down to stand up, from passive learning to active learning, we might see a rapid reduction in dropout rates,” he adds. ”Treating human beings more humanely can never be a mistake. Learning by making is one of the most humane ways for students to learn.”