Should children make posters?

Twitter strikes again. It is very difficult to be subtle on Twitter and that may be why blogs are so useful. An idea gets discussed in 140 character bites and it creates more questions than answers.

I want to start by stating that it is not an appropriate argument to say that if an activity or process or whatever that a child undertakes in a classroom is done well, that activity is a valid learning activity. ‘Done well’ means learning has happened and it must, therefore, be an activity that has value.

It is also not, IMO, valid to suggest that a particular activity *can* develop <insert whatever you think the activity develops> particular knowledge and skills that justifies the use of that technique.

There are always opportunity  costs to whatever children engage with in a class. We need to be able to be very clear about the learning that is likely to result from a particular activity that we are spending children’s time on. Is it really worth them doing activity A rather than activity B?

Should children be spending time making posters? Only you can make that decision but I’ll give you a couple of invalid reasons for choosing a particular activity over another.

Don’t justify the use of an activity by stating that children will find it fun. Don’t say it *might* lead to them learning something. We need to be saying it is *likely* to lead to the learning and to the learning we want. Don’t choose activities that cause children to think more about the specific activity than the learning we want to happen.

Should they be making a poster in history. Perhaps. But more likely perhaps not.

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