Friday, September 5, 2014

Content -v- Curiosity

Yesterday in a collaborative planning meeting we were discussing how giving students choices of what to research and how they present their findings, isn't necessarily the same as inquiry.  This reminded me of a chapter I was reading recently in Jon Bergmann and Aaron Sam's book Flipped Learning:  Gateway to Student Engagement where they write that the opportunity for students to follow their interests may be missing in many schools today:  "Teachers simply have too much content to cover.  Because of this they are reluctant to allow students choice in what to learn or how to learn."

One phrase that really stood out to me as I was reading was that education is about the intersection of content, curiosity and relationship - and that so many educational systems place the emphasis on content at the expense of the other two.  Recently I was co-leading an IB Continuum workshop on Flipping Classrooms in Singapore and this was certainly the feeling of many of the teachers there - that there is way too much content to cover and way too little flexibility.  One of the things that appealed to these teachers was that they could have the students cover the content at home, and then use the in-class time to have students extend their knowledge by following their curiosities and teachers could use this time to build relationships with their students.

It's Teachers' Day in India today.  Teachers at my school received many tokens of appreciation from the parents and students they taught (and those they had taught in previous years).  These relationships are so important.  Jon and Aaron write:
Teaching is fundamentally a human interaction in which the passions and interests of the students are fanned to a flame.  Students realize that they need more from their teachers than mere content.  They need passionate, caring professionals who encourage them to pursue excellence.
Well said!  And Happy Teachers' Day everyone!

Photo Credit: woodleywonderworks via Compfight cc

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