Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Lessons in Education Featuring Gary Larson: Part VIII

By Ed Tech Maniac, Darin Anderson

On the surface, this particular comic seems to be making fun of the perceived ineptness of this man to carry out a meaningful life. To be sure, what kind of buffoon finds it necessary to physically label each and every person, place, or thing on his property??

We waste no time in taking shots at this man, but are we really being fair to him?

For example, how many students do we come across each day that are in similar stations in life? Of course, the Chemistry teacher knows his periodic table from top to bottom and the Social Studies teacher can recite the Civil War from beginning to end without breaking a sweat. The Computer Tech instructor can code with the best of them while the Geometry teacher has a ruler on speed dial.

But do our kids show up with the same knowledge? Of course not!

It thus becomes imperative to have high expectations of learning with an understanding that we will have to lay things out very explicitly to most of our students, no matter what the content might be. "I taught it and they should have learned it," attitudes and assumptions are just not good enough.

The counter to the above statement is that the "real world" does not wait for us to learn before it asks us to perform. "I'm just trying to prepare them for when they get a job," they say, as they refuse to explicitly teach students skills and content.

While it is vital that our future workforce can problem solve and think independently, the fact remains that 14-year-old kids are not gainfully employed...and for good reason. They are not ready. They need to be taught explicitly the skills necessary to function in the world.

(The other counter? "They should get those skills at home. My job is to teach _________ ."

If the statement above were true, then why would kids need to go to school at all?

Truth is, a K-12 education is a necessary part of a child's development. It fills gaps, provides opportunities for growth and enrichment, and gives them environments to excel in their own areas of interest. Or it SHOULD, at least.

So instead of harping on those students (and co-workers) who may not have it all together, let's be patient and commence to spelling things out literally. It makes learning better for all of us!

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