A couple of years ago, I learned a cool little acronym related to project-based learning, service learning, or any other form of pedagogy which involves students tackling real-world problems and, in particular, taking their learning outside of the classroom in order to attempt some kind of meaningful social change.
This acronym is the ‘The 3 As’.
I learned the acronym from Suzie Boss, who is a legend, and I’m pretty sure I’ve written about them here before, but it’s taken me quite some time to figure out a good way to implement them well with my class.
So what are the 3 As? Let me explain.
A real world problem or issue is identified and students take action in order to address it.
Students raise awareness of the issue, how they have taken action to address it.
Students advocate for others to also take action toward solving the problem.
In the last term of school my class decided to clean up the school by collecting rubbish from around the grounds. We categorised the rubbish we collected, tallied up the data over a period of three weeks, and made bar and line graphs with the data we had collected. These were the first steps we took toward taking action on the issue of cleaning up the school.
My students then used the information they had gathered and graphed as stimulus for a few blog posts in which they appealed to other classes in the school to clean up the playground and reduce their littering. We also shared our graphs and blog post with a school over in Boston, Massachusetts!
I think that these are some cool examples of kids doing some really meaningful stuff at school at a very early age. We were also epic enough to get an article in one of the local papers. My students were heaps excited to see that what we had been doing was cool enough to have interest from the media.
In terms of advocacy, I was particularly pleased when a student who had been found littering was brought to my class in order to see what we had been doing, and why he might like to think differently in future. My students presented their work to him and explained why it was important to look after the environment. As he left the class, one of my students said, “So next time you see something on the ground, pick it up and put it in the bin. Look after the playground, yeah?”
Anyway, it made me happy. 🙂