“I believe that the school must represent life – life as real and vital to the child as that which he carries on in the home, in the neighborhood, or on the playground.” – John Dewey
Dewey writes of the need for schools to take on a certain reality, and in doing so, proposes lessons that look more like what a student experiences every day. As a student, I always found that I was most engaged in projects that had some relevance to my own life.
As a kid, I pored over the sports section of the newspaper each morning, and read multiple magazines each month. When my teacher introduced a project in which groups of students were to create a section of a newspaper, my friends and I were thrilled to create our own sports section. We worked more intensely on that one project than anything else we were asked to do in school.
Dewey advocates for making school “real and vital” to students. This means bringing in their interests and passions, and tying curriculum to them. The skills that students develop in making, creating, and playing outside of school need to be further developed inside classrooms as well. When students are running home to finish something they started in school, we have achieved the holy grail of education.