I had a super time speaking about unschooling/open source learning to a classroom full of engineering in society students (third year university). These McMaster students were the perfect students -honestly. They were completely engaged, interested and asked a pile of questions.
There was a lot of concern around motivation-many of the students wondered about what happens if kids don't get forced to do things they don't necessarily want to do, then how will they ever learn the skill of perseverance? What happens when they grow up and don't feel like going to work?
One student came up during the break and told me that he was tired and didn't want to come in today but he forced himself and "Now I feel fine. I'm awake." To which I replied in jest, "What's wrong with sleeping? You probably needed it."
But seriously, do you need that much practice to prepare to do something you're not keen on doing that is decades down the road?
The presentation about 2 hours long consisted of me, introducing unschooling by reading a chapter from Skellig (by David Almond) where ironically it's school that is put into question for a change. Mina is an unschooled girl who meets a school boy Michael.
In the chapter, Michael who is taking a break from school because of family problems, is doing his school work and Mina is curious. Leafing through pages of questions that have blank after blank spaces to fill in she asks in mockery,"Is this really the kind of thing you do all day?"
When she flicks through the book that Michael and his class are reading she asks about the red sticker.
"It's for confident readers," Michael says. "It's to do with reading age."
"And what if other readers want to read it? And where would William Blake fit in?" asks Mina. "Tyger! Tyger! burning bright/In the forests of the night." Is that for the best reader of the worst readers? Does that need a good reading age?"..."and if it were for the worst readers would the best readers not bother with it because it would be too stupid for them?"
Following this I presented the basic premises of unschooling/open source learning and then took questions and answers. We then watched these short videos on youtube.
Kate Cayley-grown unschooler
John Taylor Gatto-State Controlled Consciousness
Al Gore Flunked out of college
A favourite with the students was Sir ken Robinson-changing educational paradigms
There was some discussion about the possibility of using unschooling ideas into the classroom situation that I found interesting-especially the idea of working collaboratively and in-depth on a topic that a group of students were motivated by.
Of course the catch to me is that the group of students/learners are doing this thing because they actually and authentically want to do it!