What we see here are various real reactions to what is and what isn’t taught in schools. Fig. 1 is an example of something I’ve seen a lot over the past few years which never fails to astonish me. On the internet many students seem to laugh and say things like, “My history teacher asked me a question and I knew the answer and laughed because I haven’t been to class but I learned it from Assassin’s Creed.” They don’t realise that the teacher does not care where they get the information from, so long as they learn it. They seem to think they’re ‘beating the system’ so to speak. But what else this tells us is that in a different situation (i.e. within the game world and out of the classroom) the student is completely capable of learning and retaining that information. The only reason they don’t learn in the classroom is because they have no interest in it. Well, how do you get them interested in it then? Part of the answer comes with Fig. 2.
Ignoring the fact that Pythagoras only had one theorem (although, perhaps that’s part of the point. The writer of the post says all he learnt from school was trig and he didn’t even completely understand that) the point of this image is simply that students are given no real world context as to why they are learning certain skills, and without this context they have no desire to learn something because they believe there is no point, and they cannot apply the skills elsewhere because
they do not know how or why. This student simply wanted to learn things that would help him succeed at life after school, to help ease that transition.
The Rapunzel example (Fig. 3 and 4) shows that if given the right context, people will actively engage their brains to think of the solution, thus applying their knowledge in a new way and gaining a better understanding of it. Granted, this is simple mathematics, but I have seen much more complex math and science applied to ‘fandom’ situations, because people have the interest, and are therefore willing to donate the time and effort.
So, to teach successfully:
> Present new ideas in an engaging way to create interest
> Explain real-world context and the benefits from learning said information
> Encourage the student to look at the idea/theory/information in different ways, so they will be able to apply it in multiple situations in future.
(WordPress is as useless as Microsoft Word when it comes to adding images to posts, forgive me)