What To Teach

What To Teach

Is that really a question? You were given a curriculum!

While this might seem to apply only to teachers, in fact this applies to parents too.  You may not be consciously aware of it but you have been given a curriculum by society on what your children must do at home by certain ages.  Items such as toilet training, bike riding, household chores, bathing, independent dressing etc. and the items and ages vary in different societies. (I can’t help but think that if we told society to speak a little slower, instead of diagnosing people with auditory processing disorder for having too slow a processing speed, we would all be better off – less anxiety and stress and more tolerance, to name a few benefits.)

Teachers and Therapists learn lesson/session planning.  When you learned lesson planning you were taught to identify the goal/objective of the lesson.  You might have even been taught how to curriculum plan.  But where you taught the overarching goal of the education system?  Have you ever stopped to think, “what should the final goal be?” “What skills should every student walk away with?” “And how does my curriculum advance this goal?”

What education should do is give the learner the tools for independence.  The therapist knows this already.  Does the teacher know that what you are building is an independent learner?  Once you understand this, you can do a proper goal setting and identify the skills a person needs to learn even after they leave the hallowed halls of the school building (assuming we haven’t killed any desire to learn).  With today’s technological advances evolving at a dizzying pace it should be apparent that a person must continue learning their whole life or run the risk of being left behind.  A person left behind will no longer able to function independently.

Of course reading is important to learning, but there are some skills that are more important.       A good example would be an Olympic athlete.  The interviews I have seen of the gold medal winners don’t discuss how much time the person spent learning about their sport by reading.  That is not to say they didn’t read up about their sport at all, but how much did reading about it really contribute to their achievement?  What I have seen is an analysis of the gravity-defying physics of gold medal winning gymnast, Simone Biles’s performance.  However, there is no mention of her studying physics to improve her performance (see here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9HO0zsigh30).

What is revealed in the interviews is the motivation, determination, focus, self-discipline, ownership, responsibility, persistence and self-sacrifice and a parent’s willingness to channel their child’s strengths in a positive way instead of trying to break the child so they fit into a “normal” mold (see here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NCte7wP1R-8).  I can’t help but wonder how many other educators would have recommended medication for Simone’s hyperactivity?

Please don’t send me a barrage of comments about my belittling the importance of reading 😉  All I am suggesting is a shift of perspective in which we put the 3 R’s in their rightful place as pieces of a puzzle, not the whole picture.  And while reading is one of the easiest ways to continue learning for a lifetime, if we make our children hate reading we risk stunting their lifelong learning.  Furthermore, this generation relies more on learning through YouTube videos than on reading.  Which does offer a number of advantages.

To be continued…

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