So often, educators have concluded that directed instruction (with expected and specific learning outcomes) is the only way that children can really learn, and that it can only be achieved if a teacher is the one leading the learning opportunity. I have seen just the opposite take place. In SelfDesign, we tend to think that a child's inner motivation to learn is naturally there from the moment they are born, and is the very thing that compels real learning, and that this real learning can only take place when love and acceptance is present.
I hope the learners in the SelfDesign Minecraft program know how much I appreciate them.
I hope they know that when I see their creations I don't just see a building made up of blocks. I see that usually more than one person has come together as a team to decide just how a building is going to be created. I see their discussions, and how they rationalize and use logic for finding answers that suit both builders. And, in the midst of that they are learning to understand one another and be real friends with each other. They are discussing trade, politics, using maths to help with the building projects, language to help with expressing what they need and want from one another (and some who didn't like to keyboard are faster than their parents now, I've heard!), and science as well. There are puzzles being created within pyramids from Egypt, a Colosseum from Rome, a fantasy project for Easter and park-our jumps that defy gravity. (And yes, gravity has been discussed as well). They have shared their opinions on being told they can't express themselves the way they might like to, because it's a school server. They have debated with each other the ins and outs of needing private areas of creating, verses always doing things together, and some have asked for direction while others request freedom of form in order to learn in their own unique way. There are autistic tendencies in children on the game and they are also working through their own struggles socially. Some of these children can't be with others face to face as it's too much stimulation for them, and they, too, have found success in having friends who are like-minded, and understanding.
These kids are amazing to me, and I am thrilled that I get to see the patterns of kindness moving into their play time. They value their space together, and even when it gets difficult, as most social processes of groups do at times, they stick together. They value self care, they value family time and they value the work everyone does together on the servers. They are sweet kids and I love them! I feel truly fortunate to be learning from this group of young human beings. They really are the best teachers!