“Meaning, like beauty, lies both within and outside us. The same experience might be more meaningful for some students than others because of differences in their interests, personal experiences, readiness, and existing relationship with the teacher and with what is being taught. That said, as learners, we all derive greater meaning from experiences that are engaging, relevant, and authentic.”
“Meaningfulness relates to but is not the same as relevance. It concerns the extent to which students perceive the lesson/unit as significant, even if the material learned or the skills acquired are not immediately relevant. Significant learning experiences promote depth of knowledge and skills related to a theme, problem, or issue; they require students to use what they learn to form opinions, solve problems, make decisions, or create real products or performances. The most meaningful learning experiences are authentic, requiring that students engage with real-life problems and issues for real purposes and an audience that can benefit from their work. Following are some examples of meaningful and engaging learning experiences.”
Changing the Way You Teach, Improving the Way Students Learn, Giselle Martin-Kniep and Joanne Picone-Zocchia
Is it possible for any of our teaching to have meaning if learners do not perceive it to be significant?
And if meaning is influenced by interest, readiness, personal experiences, history, and relationships, how is it possible to set purposeful learning outcomes for learners without including them in that process?
Does it really make sense to impose our interests, personal experiences, and history on learners of any age or in any position?
Is it about moving people where WE want them to go, or is it about creating cultures that nurture learning?
What’s the difference?
I’m wondering how I can better align my actions with my answers to those questions.