Unfortunately we can’t bring real life and real companies into traditional classrooms. So it is a good way to bring classroom into a place, where real life happens and where companies already exist. Today me and my students had a great honor to visit Pop Up College‘s new business premises in the shopping mall Kaari in Kannelmäki, Helsinki. Pop Up College represents a new way of studying by making real projects with real companies − outside classroom.
Although studying in Pop Up College looks less controlled than studying in traditional classrooms, all the students seemed to understand their own responsibility in both learning and working. That is a good method especially for students who realize their own responsibility about their own future. Some students still don’t adapt to this kind of freedom, where balance between freedom and responsibility is needed and highlighted.
The key term in this kind of studying is team learning, where the student group is shared into smaller teams. All the teams have different goals, and they try to reach their goals with dialogue. Teachers are coaches, whose job is to facilitate positive dialogue between team members and teams. However, instead teacher-directed work teams themselves make all the work in projects.
During this autumn period I have noticed problems of traditional way of studying. It doesn’t seem to be interesting enough for students in age 16-17, who don’t have plans for their future. I understand, that when the future seems foggy, working at school doesn’t feel motivating for our youngsters, although learning and studying could disperse uncertainty. Well, lack of motivation means huge amounts of absences and growing amount of work for us teachers willing to help our students in learning.
Maybe team learning in real environment could be the answer, that could increase our students’ motivation and give better views for the future. Could Pop Up College be widened within every student’s reach in the future? Well, in my opinion we still have students who need traditional methods, rules and boundaries at school. Pop Up College is still an excellent method for students, who are able to learn, work and maintain balance between freedom and responsibility.