“65% of our school children will have jobs that don’t exist today.”
The students that walk into our classrooms everyday deserve the best opportunity to be provided with the tools to help them live a successful life. Success for each of them is going to look different, as it should. We have no way of knowing all of the tools students will need to be successful in their future but we do know how to provide them opportunities to be guides to their own success. As a teacher this is a huge task. We are provided with opportunity, responsibility and privilege to help frame the future business owners, lawyers, teachers, politicians, chefs, journalist, leaders and community members of our world. So one can’t help but think, is what I am doing teaching them to be their best? Am I teaching them what they need to be successful? I think in today’s world, that looks very different than it did 20 years ago. As Pavan Arora discusses in his TedxTalk mentioned above, knowledge today it becoming obsolete and I think he has made a great point.
We must move our practice towards creating students that can recognize the need for a certain piece of knowledge and work to find that. John Seely Brown and Richard Adler discussion this in their piece Minds of Fire:
“what John Dewey called “productive inquiry”—that is, the process of seeking the knowledge when it is needed in order to carry out a particular situated task.”
Our students today need to be taught not what year a certain event occurred or for them all to be able to solve a certain math problem exactly the same way. Rather, they need the skills to be able to seek out the knowledge that is required to achieve a goal or complete a task.
The idea of changing how we teach, from students being “knowledgeable to knowledge-able” as discussed by Michael Wesch in his Tedx Talk, in my opinion, is one of the most important conversations we need to be having in education today. This is no easy task and it is an intricate process, one that perhaps maybe we don’t know all the steps to yet. However if we don’t start talking about it in schools, then I would venture to suggest we aren’t giving our students the tools they need for their future.
As teachers we often get stuck in wanting students to perform a certain task in a certain way because well truthfully, this is how we were taught. Sometimes I catch myself saying something to my students about how to do something and then at the end of the day I think, well why does it matter which way they do it? Why do I need to tell them how to make their brain think through a task? I don’t need to do this all the time and I need to let go. In my mind, I need to start by providing my students the opportunity to try, think, fail, try again and then keep trying. I can be there to guide them and give them the tools they need to seek the information they might need. In grade 2 I sometimes struggle with how to do this but there are certainly ways! I have some learning to do here as well and I am really enjoying that EC&I 831 is providing me with an opportunity to think deeper about my practice and how to continue to make it better.
Each day I try to frame at least one piece of our day around having my students work for the solutions to questions they might have. I have a lot of learning to do on understanding how this works in grade 2 but I am trying. This week I came across a blog post shared by Vicki Davis on twitter that discussed the need for providing students with a purpose for creativity. Why Creativity Begins With Purpose (Not Passion) has me pondering ways that I can provide my students with a better understanding of the why behind what we do in our classroom each day. I already do this but I think as with anything, it can be done better.I plan to explore some ideas I have around this in my classroom in the coming weeks and will share my journey here!