Reflection #14: For Students, the Importance of Doing Work that Matters

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“When am I ever going to use this?” “This assignments doesn’t matter?” “This is pointless.” These are questions and statements that every teacher dreads to here and are constantly battling to answer. What if we actually made the content matter to them? What if instead of just giving worksheets or set in stone assignments we created assignments that allowed students to make the assignment their own and matter to them.

Will Richardson, with Mindshift, talks about this exact topic in his article, For Students, the Importance of Doing Work that Matters. He talks about how their are schools in the US that have made assignments matter. He talked about students creating solar panels to be used in Africa, designing schools, and writing their own books and selling them. These are all assignments that make the students actually see how they matter. Richardson brings up the point that our students today have access to technology that connects them to millions of people across the world. This creates so many opportunities for students to share what they are doing and impacting others. It gives their work a purpose.

I hope to be able to so this as a music educator. Music is an incredible universal language and there are so many opportunities to share what you perform and create with others, as well as see what others are up to. I hope to use technology and the local community to show students that what they do matters, and to give them opportunities to make matter to them on a personal level.