I’ve had my share of great teachers. I’ve also had my share of bad teachers – politically, I shouldn’t say bad, maybe ‘less effective’ or ‘ones with whom I’ve had a personality conflict’, but the truth is, some were just plain bad. I’ve had great classes of students and challenging classes of students. I’ve taught great lessons and unfortunately I’ve taught some pretty bad lessons too.
From Kindergarten to grade 12 I attended 9 different schools. My family put the word ‘fun’ in dysfunction but that’s for a different post. After high school I attend university and earned by B.A. in English, my B.Ed. and my M.Ed. This added about another 8 years to my formal education. How did I get through it all? For as long as I can remember I always held on to one simple truth:
WHAT is being taught doesn’t matter. All education is about teaching you HOW to think.
Pretty simple. I don’t remember who shared this with me. I think it came up in Junioir High inbetween acne cream and sex ed. Nevertheless this simple truism helped me get through school and to get really good grades. Not only that, but it also helped me to approach my teaching differently. As an adult learner this continues to drive me. I am constantly trying to learn new things. Sometimes this is through books, conferences, and other ‘formal’ resources but other times it is very independent.
Over the next little while I explain why there is no such thing as knowledge. It is not a thing that can be passed from one person to another. I will also look at my favourite teaching and learning strategy – Play to learn, learn to play. If you are still struggling with the idea that WHAT we are being taught, the content if you will, is really important, I challenge you to watch Karl Fisch’s “Did You Know” video that I described in my previous entry.
Here’s something to get you thinking. Scott Mcleod had a blog on his site, Dangerously Irrelevant, that brought this to my attention. On Scott’s site, you will find multiple formats of Karl Fisch‘s presentation, “Did You Know“. If you watch this short presentation (just over 6 minutes), you can’t help but wonder about the role of learning and the current state of education.
Ok, just found out that I can’t upload video directly. So, to watch the video, pop over to Scott’s site and use up his bandwidth then come on back because I’d really like to hear your comments. Click here to choose your video format.
Some topics that I already wish to discuss:
The Only Way To Succeed at School
There’s Nothing to Learn
What You Learn Doesn’t Matter – Learning to Think
The Myth of Learning Styles
The Almost Myth of Multiple Intelligences
The Principle and not the Principal
Beating Up the Bullies
Stretching the Umbilical Cord
Why the Report Card Doesn’t Tell You Anything
It’s A Competition – Against No One
When They Screw Up
Seeking to Understand
Single Parent Homes and Achievement
Sports, Music, and the Arts
Dress for Success
Deeper Secrets: Assesment
Playing By the Rules
Document, Document, Document
The Chain of Communication and Why it Matters
Don’t Teach Them, Coach Them
The Myth of Personality Conflicts
See their Potential
See the Potential that they Can’t See
Immediate Pain, Immediate Gain
Motivation: Encourage or Yell
Letting Them Fail
As a parent and a principal, I’ve learned a lot about education and learning. As parents and teachers our greatest desire is that our children and students will be succesful. If we agree on this basic desire, then why does there seem to be so much conflict and confusion regarding education?
It is all about passion. Parents are passionate about their children. Teachers are passionate about their students. Principals are passionate about their schools. If any of the three were not passionate, then there wouldn’t be any conflict. Conflict, as a symptom of passion, is a good thing. I just wish it wouldn’t be so uncomfortable.
Join me as I share the insights that I have gained being a parent, a teacher, and an administrator. Together, we can ensure that our greatest desire – the success of those we love – will be be fulfilled. Please feel free to leave comments and feedback, otherwise I just feel like I’m talking to myself.