It’s the same in my sporting endeavours. I now rely on those shots that I’ve played for years in a split second whilst on court. Even when I try to change the shots to suite my opponent when coaching, I find myself hitting the same good shots that I had practiced for years and now find it difficult to play more loose shots!
Do we know why we are teaching what we are teaching? More importantly, do the students know what they are learning and why they are learning it? Do they even want to be learning what they are learning about? I remember being encouraged to reflect on lessons as a teacher and analyse what worked well and what didn’t, but how often do we consider what we are educating for? Of course students need to know how to read, write and do mathematics, but what life skills and values are they developing in the process?
Taking ownership with a good attitude towards learning is the glue that makes the learning stick! Students no longer need to “download” masses of information and knowledge by rote learning as they have computers that can now do that for them. Instead, they need to be able to process information, analyse it and use deeper critical thinking and creative processes of innovation. Learning something out of a sense curiosity or inquiry will be learning that lasts for a lifetime.
I heard Pink Floyd’s song on the radio this week, “We don’t need no education!” and “We don’t need no thought control!” I’d like to think that education has changed over the last few decades, but found myself considering how much of it is really thought control? Interestingly enough, there is a lot of academic research on this as well! Pink Floyd probably has a very cynical viewpoint, but I know that many students found themselves singing along as they related to these lyrics.
As I think about what really helped me the most through my challenging week, it was supportive people and all my previous, positive learning experiences. That doesn’t mean to say that I have had no negative learning experiences. It means that I have chosen, by way of my attitude, to use all my learning experiences for good. This is a proactive step in education, rather than a passive step. We don’t need to be victims of our circumstances, as Pink Floyd suggests.
Encourage students to embrace the attitudes and life skills of a life long learner and innovator. Help them to develop perseverance and character to go the distance, leaning on everything that they have learnt in the past to help them in the future!