Monday, November 30, 2015

Documentary: Why Do These Kids Love School?

Why Do These Kids Love School? (1990) is a documentary film directed by filmmaker, Dorothy Fadiman, which examines an independent school, Peninsula School, followed by visits to eight public schools around the country (pre-school through high school) all of which have innovative programs.

What emerges is the value of implementing humane values and programs that value creative thinking, self-directed learning, and first-hand experience more than memorization of facts.

The schools in the film are Peninsula School, Graham and Parks School in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Central Park East Secondary School in New York City (now a high school since 2005), Clara Barton Open School in Minneapolis, Clement Gregory McDonough City Magnet School in Lowell, Massachusetts, Jefferson County Open School in Lakewood, Colorado, New Orleans Free School (closed after Hurricane Katrina), Central Park East II in New York City, and Davis Alternative Magnet School in Jackson, Mississippi.

Documentary: Free to Learn: A Radical Experiment in Education

Free to Learn: A Radical Experiment in Education (2006) is documentary by Jeff Root and Bhawin Suchak.

It is a 70 minute documentary that offers a “fly on the wall” perspective of the daily happenings at The Free School in Albany, New York. Like many of today’s radical and democratic schools, The Free School expects children to decide for themselves how to spend their days.

Watch more free documentaries here!

The Free School, however, is unique in that it transcends obstacles that prevent similar schools from reaching a economically and racially diverse range of students and operates in the heart of an inner-city neighborhood.

For over thirty years in perhaps the most radical experiment in American education, this small inner-city alternative school has offered its students complete freedom over their learning. There are no mandatory classes, no grades, tests, or homework, and rules are generally avoided. As a last resort, rules are created democratically by students and teachers, often at the prompting of a student. At a time when our educators are mandated to march forward with no child left behind, the students of the Free School, many of whom would have fallen through the cracks of today’s failing public school system, have managed to slip out of education’s back door and have run away free.

Free to Learn follows a handful of these children courageously meeting the daily challenges of hope, acceptance, loss, friendship, conflict, and the difficult task of deciding, for themselves, what to do with each day.

Documentary: A Science of Teaching

A Science of Teaching (2015) offers a comprehensive guide for teachers, educators, and anyone else interested in human behavior on how learning occurs at a biological and environmental level.

What shapes our behavior? How do our behaviors become reinforced? What are some useful techniques to help shape human behavior towards acquiring new skills and behaviours? How do we measure human behavior and what is the science behind teaching and learning? These are all questions which are addressed within this film. The film covers many sections ranging from the biological basis of learning, tools for educators, precision teaching and technology in the classroom.

Watch the full film below:


Dr Matt Normand
Associate Professor in Psychology
University of the Pacific

Dr Henry D. Schlinger
Professor of Psychology
California State University, Los Angeles

Andrew Houvouras
Board Certified Behavior Analyst
Florida Institute of Technology, Brevard County Schools and ABA Technologies

Professor Karola Dillenburger
Board Certified Behaviour Analyst - Doctoral
Queen's University Belfast

Professor Mickey Keenan
Professor of Behaviour Analysis
University of Ulster

Dr Michael Beverley
Lecturer, School of Psychology
Bangor University

Professor Richard M. Kubina Jr.
Professor of Education (Special Education)
The Pennsylvania State University College of Education

Students may have the desire to learn, but it is not certain that they do so

- Motivated students have always wanted to learn. Motivated students are hungry for knowledge. They are curious about the new challenges, and they are often conscious both the result and the learning process. The big question is how I motivate learners? How do you motivate the so called the weak, the strong, those in between, those who can not read, those who should have been somewhere else and those unable to get to school?

My expectations for a school day is that students show up on time and are eager to learn. I think that the clearer my expectations are, the easier it will be for students to meet them in terms of learning content. I expect that students are curious and do my best for that to continue to be so.

It is rather few students who feel that all subjects and all they do in school is interesting and fun. But my contention is that students still can be motivated. You will be motivated when you feel that something concerns you, that it is relevant and necessary. A motivated teacher inspires students.

The atmosphere in the classroom is crucial for student motivation.The teacher plays a central role in relation to the class environment. Some teachers are convinced that students are basically lazy, passive or disorderly and therefore must be controlled. Other, which emphasizes self-determination is more apt to take the chance to give students a significant influence in terms of what should take place at school, so students get the urge and interest to learn.

To motivate students you need to be motivated yourself. When students are focused on the goals they themselves have been involved in formulating, increases the commitment, motivation and development to a new level. A key ingredient for learning is that students feel intellectually challenged. Rewards, punishment, intimidation and other external strategies generating no joy of learning and motivation. Pupils subjected to control responds in two ways; they subject themselves, or they resist. Neither is particularly constructive. 

A good teacher is curious about everything. And you're additionally enthusiastic and eager to share new and old knowledge with others, then you are a good teacher. A good teacher is a good class leader who spend time to become even better. A good teacher is knowledgeable and continues to acquire knowledge while creating enthusiasm among the students to acquire knowledge.