Why I Don’t Assign “Cute” Projects

As an educator, my primary goal is to facilitate learning and help my students develop the skills they need to succeed in their academic careers and beyond. It can be tempting to assign “cute” projects that are engaging and appear to promote learning while being enjoyable for students. However, after much consideration and observation, I’ve decided not to incorporate these types of assignments into my curriculum. In this article, I will discuss the reasons why I choose not to assign “cute” projects in my classroom.

1. Time-consuming preparation

Cute projects often involve intricate designs, materials, and assembly processes. While these elements might make the end product visually appealing, they can take up a significant amount of time that could be better spent on more meaningful learning activities. The time spent gathering supplies, preparing materials, and guiding students through assembly could be better invested in activities that promote critical thinking, problem-solving skills, and a deeper understanding of the subject matter.

2. Limited educational value

While cute projects might capture students’ attention initially, they often lack depth and fail to provide a genuine learning experience for the students. Superficial tasks with minimal content do little to promote student engagement in academic study or encourage a lifelong love of learning. As educators, it is crucial that we prioritize assignments with strong educational value over aesthetically pleasing but ultimately shallow projects.

3. Creativity constraints

Assignments that rely on pre-established templates or specific visual outcomes restrict the creative freedom of our students. Instead of allowing them to explore their own ideas and develop their unique perspectives, these projects often force them to work within rigid boundaries. Encouraging creativity is vital for fostering critical thinking skills and promoting innovative problem-solving in our future leaders.

4. A focus on product over process

Cute projects tend to prioritize the final product over the learning process itself. This approach might result in visually appealing work, but it can undermine the students’ journey of understanding and exploration. When we prioritize process over product, we encourage our students to be more inquisitive and better equipped to tackle future challenges.

5. Equity concerns

Assigning cute projects often necessitates the purchase of specific materials that might not be readily available to all students. This not only creates financial burdens for families, but it also highlights disparities between students and can unfairly disadvantage those with fewer resources.

In summary, while cute projects might seem alluring and engaging on the surface, they often don’t provide the educational value and learning experiences we hope to offer our students. By focusing on more meaningful and academically enriching assignments instead, we can ensure that our students not only develop a deep understanding of the content but also acquire invaluable skills they will need in their future endeavors.