Monday night I sat on my couch chugging coffee and counting down the minutes until midnight when Allegiant, the third and final novel in the Divergent trilogy by Veronica Roth, would be released. I devoured it. I laughed. I cried.
And then I wanted to talk about it. In fact I’m about to explode as I wait on all of my friends to finish it so we can talk about it. I popped into classrooms all day long today screaming “What part are you reading?” then jumping up and down with excitement when they told me. I’m sure in a few days we’ll all sit down and debate the writing style and the choices the author made.
Why? Because as human beings desire to talk to each other.
So why do we smother that in the classroom?
In too many classrooms students are not encouraged to embrace the social aspect of who they are. In fact it’s blatantly discouraged. Students crave real conversation with those around them. They want to talk about their homework, the television show they watched last night, and, yes, even books. So do we. Talking to people about these things leads to debate, maybe a changed point of view, and a deeper understanding about the topic. We want to hear that people agree with us, but we also enjoy hearing opinions that are different from ours. “What made you say that?” “What is it about her character that you hate?” We do this with news, music, and anything else we encounter. I even keep a mental log of things that happen throughout my day that I want to tell my husband when I get home.
It’s why Facebook exists. It’s why Twitter exists.
It’s why you’re reading this blog.
Bonds and connections are forged over tiny things we discover about others while being social. Think about the instant connection you feel with someone who loves your favorite television show. As a Doctor Who fan I understand this power. I’ve stopped strangers in the mall to comment on their “Save the Daleks” tee and debated which Doctor was the best on an elevator.
How can we, as educators, channel this powerful need in our classroom?
Join us for this week’s #levelupED chat about the social fabric of your classroom (9pm EST). Come join the guild and find ways to harness the power of your student’s social natures and the power of gamification to help.
And, you know, talking about things is sort of a human need, so why not do it with your Twitter friends?