I have been asking myself, "What is it that I really need to teach my students?" I don't find it hard to think of what to teach. I sometimes find it impossible to figure out what NOT to teach. Sometimes it all feels important. If you haven't figured it out already, I over-think and over-analyze everything. It is my gift and my curse both.
What do we need to be teaching our students?
- Students need to be able to ask questions and find answers to those questions.
- Students need to be able to form their own opinions about the information they find.
- Students need to be able to recognize how content relates to the real world.
- Students need to be able to make connections between ideas and concepts.
- Students need to develop their own worldview that shapes their ideas and choices they make.
- Students need to be able to articulate their own ideas and point of view on concepts.
- Students need to be able to persevere through the difficult, uncomfortable, and monotonous.
- Students need to be able to make choices and live with the consequences.
I am sure there are more things that really matter, but this list feels like a summation of the essentials. Much of it boils down to developing the ability to THINK.
Why do we need to teach our kids to think?
We live in a world of instant information. We can access at the click of a button an answer to any question. How do we know if the information we get is accurate, reliable, helpful, logical...? We have to evaluate it and form opinions about we read.
Kids have gotten used to schedules and tasks being handed to them and dictated for them. You are beginning to see more articles on the importance of free play. Kids no longer run down the street or call up and ask a friend to play. They get their mom to text their friend's mom to schedule a play date.
Why do kids need to understand their own worldview and how it shapes their ideas?
In a postmodern world, we are led to believe there are no moral absolutes and anything goes. However, more and more companies are implementing ethical training. Kids do need some sense of how they measure right and wrong, how they decide what is the best way to treat people, how they want to be treated, and even what they want in life and out of their education.
Why do kids need to learn to persevere?
Sometimes life is hard. Sometimes life is boring. There is beauty in overcoming a challenge. There is no such thing as perfect. We learn...we grow...we keep going.
There are parts of most jobs that are dull or monotonous. Of course as a teacher, I want what I teach to be engaging. However, I also want my students to be successful in the real world. Not every aspect of every job is engaging. That is life. Let's prepare kids for it.
What do you really want to teach your students?