When my son woke up this morning, he asked me to make him waffles. Having never made waffles before, I was going to refuse, but then I decided to take a chance, and just learn how to make waffles. Most of my adventures in the kitchen in the past 6 years have happened with the help of my wife, but I really need to spend more time cooking by myself, like I did when I was a bachelor. Both my wife and I agree that more balance needs to happen between us in terms of who makes meals (although she’s pretty happy with me doing all of the dishes…).
I looked up a recipe for waffles online and decided to make sure I had all of the ingredients. With my son’s help, we looked through the kitchen and found all of the ingredients for the waffles, except we only had 1 egg, and the recipe called for two. We also didn’t have enough vegetable oil, so I had to do a couple of substitutions.
Together, my son and I measured out the ingredients for the waffles and put them into a bowl and mixed them all up. I then pulled out the waffle maker, and figured out how it worked, with my son’s help. It certainly makes waffles easy to make!
Unfortunately, I didn’t know how much of the wafflie mix to put into the waffle cooker. I decided to take a guess and glopped some mix into the cooker. As you can see, this didn’t work out so well.
The mixture overflowed from the waffle cooker, and onto the counter. Oops! I’d put too much in! After some experimentation, and more messes, I figured out how much was the right amount to cook.
The big moment came, when I actually got to try my waffles for the first time.
My wife and son agree with me, my waffles were yummy! I was pretty pleased with myself, and although I realized afterward that making waffles is really not all that difficult, I still felt a sense of accomplishment.
As I ate my waffles, I thought about how this experience should translate to student learning.
- I picked a project which was meaningful to me.
- I created a plan to complete my project.
- I followed through on my plan, which required me to trouble-shoot, revise my plan, and clean up after my mistakes.
- I enjoyed and shared the fruits of my labours at the end of the project.
- I learned a skill I can almost certainly use later.
- I took a risk and met the challenge successfully, while overcoming some obstacles in my way.
While it’s clear to me that not every learning experience can be as successful, or as self-directed as my waffle-making experience, it’s also clear to me that too few experiences of children in schools mirror my experience at home. We spend a lot of time directing the lives of students, and I’d like to see more schools with structures in place that allowed students to be in charge of at least some of their learning.