I just read a great blog post by Sam Gliksman at the link below. He discusses the critical idea that we need to constantly re-evaluate why we are teaching the skills, concepts, and procedures in our curriculums. What do our students need to know? Gliksman says:
“We each have a concept of what constitutes an ideal education even though it’s likely we’ll disagree on many of its components. There is however one common thread that most of us might agree upon. As strange as it may sound, we aren’t teaching children to become good students in school. After all, school is just a transitionary stage of their lives. Our objective is to educate and prepare them for life outside school. What’s the purpose of helping a student ace a test if the learning required for that test has no real-world meaning for the student? Ideally, we’d like to ensure they develop the necessary skills to become happy, productive adults and solid citizens in their lives outside school.”
In other words, we shouldn’t be preparing them to be students (although lifelong learning is a positive goal), we should be preparing them to handle life outside of school in a productive, ethical manner. The world is changing so quickly. New technologies are emerging and being adopted at an ever increasing pace. It is difficult for teachers to know how to prepare students for the world they will inherit. I don’t think anyone has the definitive answer. But I do think we should ask ourselves “Why?” for each skill, concept, and procedure we are teaching.