A Change

‘I think many students didn’t realize that they could learn without a textbook or without step by step instruction.’

This line is from a Mind Shift article on the KQED website. I think I found out about it on Twitter, but that is neither here nor there.

I think it speaks to some of the changes that I have seen over the years as an educator. True, students have always wanted to, for the most part, do well and get good grades, but the number of kids grappling for every point vs truly wanting to "master" a concept has certainly increased.

Does every student want to be a master of each class? No. That will never change, but students are curious, and getting them to be curious in a way that keeps them exploring the content, well, that's just good pedagogy.

Part of the problem is that few teachers teach from a standpoint of curiosity and mastery. Few teachers give their students multiple chances to show they truly understand something. Yes, I know this is a generalization, but it is true.

Too many teachers are of the mindset that they have to teach the standards and/or the content that is set in front of them and they feel they don't have the time to give those multiple chances or teach to the depth that may be most beneficial. Additionally, too many teachers feel something along the lines of, "This is how I learned this, and I understand it perfectly well, so if it worked for me, why don't they understand?".

Well, either that or they have never truly been exposed to crazy good and/or relevant teaching.

I'm not saying I'm an expert, but none of us are perfect. We all need practice. In addition to that, it is the 21st century, and we as teachers shouldn't be a gatekeeper of knowledge. In reality nobody cares what formulas a student knows, they care about whether they can use those formulas (or create new ones).

What can you do (for me/us)? That is a much more relevant question our students are likely to run in to vs What do you know?

Why can't we teach them to remain curious and then FIND the answers/means/paths to address those curiosities? If we can do that, it's a big win. For everyone.


Inspired by:

How ‘Deprogramming’ Kids From How to ‘Do School’ Could Improve Learning by Katrina Schwartz