Friday, March 4, 2011

Reluctant Speakers

The days when students surprise and delight sustain us all. On February 28th, my students in the DownUnder/UpOver Project hosted a question/answer session where they showcased the traditional and modern outdoor clothing of the native village of Unalakleet, Alaska. One student also volunteered to answer questions about one of his passions: snowmachines. A reluctant speaker, this student surprised me when he volunteered to present and field questions about a Ski-Doo Renegade Rev-XP 600 during a VTC in which nearly 60 students from Alaska and New South Wales, Australia, were present and watching intently.

Every class has a few reluctant speakers. What are their passions? What is unique about where they live and what they do? How can we facilitate activities that provide an audience that our reluctant speakers want to reach and share their passions and their place? The DownUnder/UpOver project is providing this unique opportunity for students and proving that place-based learning can encourage reluctant speakers to step up and celebrate their unique culture, history, environment and economy.