Yes, But If They Like It, They'll Learn It!: How to Plan, Organize, and Assess Learning Experiences with Meaning, Purpose, and Joy.


120 pages
Contains Bibliography, Index
ISBN 978-1-55138-211-1
DDC 372.1102




Reviewed by Emily McMillan


Former teachers, administrators, and now educational researchers Susan Church, Jane Baskwill, and Margaret Swain present detailed examples, backed by research, of how a classroom can be transformed into an authentic learning experience with the goal of infusing meaning and purpose into learning. Each chapter contains two narrative style examples of classroom activities, one of which is followed by a detailed examination of how the example addresses curriculum standards, how it supports literacy, how an assessment of the activity may be carried out, and how it involves parents and the community. Various grade levels are covered, as are curriculum standards from different provinces.


The examples include an arts project in collaboration with a museum, community advocacy in protecting a heritage site, a critical thinking project focused on toys, a social justice project regarding obtaining a bed for a needy student, a conference on watersheds, and a project focused on literature. All of the examples require specific planning by the teacher, for which templates are provided, and all expect a certain amount of parental and community support. Often multiple classes are involved and the project is interdisciplinary. Teachers reading this book may be forgiven for being overwhelmed at the amount of time and energy that would be required to make these ideas operational, but with the amount of learning obviously going on, it may be worth it. While the authors give a lot of detail about how the project worked, particularly in terms of assessment, there is a lack of discussion about how to work through barriers such as a less supportive administration.


The goal of the authors is to connect learning to real life and so engage the passion and interest of students, in the end showing how school can have a positive impact on the students’ lives. The examples show how external curriculum outcomes can still be met, while shifting the focus off tests and rote learning and toward what is called authentic pedagogy, involving meaningful and worthwhile learning experiences. If teachers are willing to take the plunge, the benefits to their students may be truly significant.


Church, Susan, Jane Baskwill, and Margaret Swain., “Yes, But If They Like It, They'll Learn It!: How to Plan, Organize, and Assess Learning Experiences with Meaning, Purpose, and Joy.,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed May 21, 2024,