I am looking forward to the start of my new school year!

As other students and teachers also start a fresh new school year I am reminded of Calvin and Hobbes – a comic strip so full of commentaries on creativity and one child’s clash with formal education…

Calvin also enjoys fresh starts:

But soon his ‘magical world’ and so-full-of-possibilities-attitude changes:

I found these cartoons – and many other gems I plan to share in future posts 🙂 – on a website called “The Calvin Project” – a psychology professor’s problem-based learning* approach that has students analyze Calvin’s educational experience:

Welcome and thank you for joining the Society for Undoing Serious Ills in Education (SUSIE). As you surely know, we are dedicated to salvaging the educational experiences of remarkable but troubled kids across the planet. Currently, one of our field agents has been tracking the experience of a boy named Calvin. Calvin is nothing less than a child prodigy. His imagination and creative insight are off the charts. Based on his ability to created a whole imaginary world centered around his stuffed tiger Hobbes, we believe he could be the next Tolkien or Lucus. Or, based on his snow creations, he could be the next Picasso. However, based on his school experience thus far, it is exceedingly more likely that he will be the next unreliable worker at a fast food joint. THIS MUST NOT HAPPEN!

The big problem is motivation. All kids have some motivation problems and some kids have all the motivational problems. Calvin is definitely one of the latter! We hear that you are developing experts in this area so that’s why we’re assigning you to the case. We’re counting on you! The development of one of our nation’s great minds is at stake! Don’t let us down! (2011 quote from: K. Pugh’s “The Calvin Project” – link updated May 2014)

Seeing creative Calvin explicitly express his boredom at school (in the above cartoon) reminded me of an interesting area of motivation research I am beginning to learn about: boredom. I have been getting to know Dr. Lia Daniels this summer – so it was great to see her research on boredom highlighted in the news last week! Click here to hear her talk on CBC about boredom and read about her here!

I am fortunate enough to be a student in her class on emotion this semester – I am motivated to learn from her – and I know I will not experience boredom!

*Problem-Based Learning (PBL) – is an approach my friend Jane uses while teaching medical students.

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