After hearing about this idea from another teacher, I thought I’d try it: on the first day of the course, I asked the students to make a list of everything they expected from the class. I went into this exercise thinking I’d have to push and prod them to come up with more than “finish the project” or “learn something new”. They were accustomed to their teacher setting the expectations — and so was I.
Instead, when the students came up with their list, I was pleasantly surprised by their insight and motivation. Here is the list they created:
Discover a new form of art , make art , learn to work with a client (*see my previous post specifically about this experience) , create successful work and be paid (the students were chosen and paid a stipend for the work created), self-reflect about our own work , learn to edit our own work , build new skills (and I added: conceptual and technical) , practice time management , make friends and have fun
This provided a great framework and check-in formula for the co-teacher and me throughout the course. It also allowed me to reflect back on the entire course with a new lens, one that was driven by the student’s collective desires and expectations, rather than just my own.
On the last day of class, we went back to the list, and the students all agreed that the expectations had been met, which was a powerful full-circle moment for all of us, and a great sense of accomplishment for the students.