By the time students reach 12th grade, many of them (particularly those of poverty) have switched on auto-pilot. Life has become complicated; adulthood is staring them in the face and it is scary. Student become disengaged in their academic experience, counting down the days to graduation. This negatively affects the teachers, parents, and the community at large. It's more than senioritis. In fact, I would argue that it is a disease more terrible. Let's call it wonderopathy - a disease causing insufficient wonder.
Students and adults alike suffer from this wretched disease. It is caused by repeated disappointment, abandonment, isolation (self-imposed or otherwise), and lack of academic challenge. Symptoms include apathy, depression, disengagement, and lack of creativity. Over time, if untreated, it can result in poverty, despair, and complacency at best.
Sounds like a mental, emotional, philosophical plague, right?!
Luckily, there is a cure! Teachers and caregivers around the world are the impetus for curing this plague. Teachers can lead instruction centered around inquiry, student-driven wonders, and leveled questions. They can develop project-based learning to cover the necessary standards and to help students develop 21st century skills based on these wonders. Parents and families can encourage their children to ask questions about life, love, religion, culture, the environment, politics, and government. They can step outside of the house and connect their children with others, providing experiences that will encourage creative thinking and the development of their own sense of self.
Together, we can all make a positive difference in this world, one wonder at a time.
So, engage in this work as it unfolds through Wonder Ground, Wonderopolis, and student-centered wonders. Reach out to others who are doing the same. Post your results on social media and in your communities. Let's start a Wonder Revolution!
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