The GenWe Classroom

Be sure to read the SOLE Toolkit to understand more about Sugata Mitra's Big Question idea.

The first week of the GenWe Classroom, students must work together in order to create a classroom constitution. The constitution will include guidelines for a Judiciary Committee, but during that first week they will be experimenting with how to solve conflicts on their own. Be sure to talk to your students about being expected to try and handle conflict on their own. Let them know you will be watching them and giving them encouragement, but you will not solve their problems for them.

Give the students a Big Question. For the first week, you should provide the question. Each following week, they should be urged to think of their own Big Questions. The first week is all about creating a constitution for the class. Here are a few ideas for a Big Question to get them curious and motivated to seek the answer: "Imagine you are one of the founding fathers of our nation, and this classroom is your new country. What would your constitution look like? How would you settle disputes? How would you manage your budget?" "Do you think you could create a constitution with judiciary and budgetary policies that everyone in the class can agree on?" "By the end of the week, can you get everyone's signature on a constitution that spells out the classroom policies on budget, learning, and handling conflict?" During this time, encourage students to resolve group issues themselves.

The role of the teacher is to observe and document what happens. You will be creating a handbook during Module 2 of the GenWe Classroom course, and what you record will go in it. Trust your students to manage themselves. It is normal for some conflict to occur. Teachers are wired to step in and intervene immediately. Resist the urge and see what happens. Let them know you are there if they need you, but give them the room to figure it out for themselves. 

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