I didn’t hesitate when invited by Brian Smith to be part of this meme. The directions are simple:
Find a photo or image that represents what I am most passionate about for kids to learn…
No, I’m not passionate about children learning about mirrors. I am passionate about children learning about themselves.
The mirror symbolizes ‘Reflection’.
“What unique gifts do I possess?”
“Where do I fit into the world?”
“What gives me joy?”
“What am I afraid of?”
“What do I believe?”
“Do my beliefs serve me?”
“What are my possibilities?”
As educators, we can have a huge impact on our children by modeling ‘self-learning’ and reflection. We can be sure to treat children as unique individuals. We can encourage them to explore their gifts and to have the courage to use them. I am fond of saying, that as teachers, we are the “living curriculum”; and we often forget the significance of that.
What a different world it would be if every child departed school with a sense of who they were, the unique gifts they possessed, a sense of purpose, and a practice of self-reflection.
Somewhere, more than 20 years ago, I came across a quote that I used to use in my presentations.
“Education is what’s left when you’ve forgotten the facts.”
How many of us can remember the formula for finding the area of a circle or the volume of a cylinder? How many of us remember the date of the Battle of Hastings?
I don’t discount the importance of content. Thank God we have folks who are passionate about and pursue science, mathematics, history, language arts, and all the other great subjects that have such a huge impact on the world.
I believe we can create schools that honor the student, schools that help them learn about themselves as people AND still teach the content we feel it is important for them to learn. In fact, I believe if teachers and students have strong connections as people; it has a tremendously positive effect on student achievement in the cognitive domain.
I’ve seen calls for deepening the human side of the classroom dismissed by critics as “selling out” academic rigor in order to build self-esteem. I am inviting us to think about this in a different way…
What if by consciously building the human sides of our classrooms, deliberately creating trust with out students, focusing on them as unique individuals, helping them know themselves a little better; we are creating an academic environment where we can be even more rigorous? As adults, we do our best and most meaningful work (whether ‘one on one’ or in teams) when we have a trusting relationship and bond with those we work with. The same dynamic applies to our classrooms.
A generation of students oriented to self-reflection and self-learning, AND armed with the best cognitive knowledge we can pass on to them, will see things differently, see possibilities for change we adults never thought possible, and ultimately shape the world in dramatically new ways.
I would like to tag the following bloggers to participate in the Passion Quilt meme: