One of the first time in our children's lives that they leave home for an extended period in a repetition, is when they begin school. This may be preschool or Kindergarten but the age is not what is the most relevant. We drop them off to school and see them grow as learners. Children learn through play. When they are young, experiences and play help them grow and reach milestones that are pivotal.
Depending on the school, as a child progresses through the grades, how we engage our children and students change. A natural progression makes logical sense as a child has different social-emotional and academic needs. However, the nature of our teaching largely becomes more reliant on a desk. MAGIC..POOF GONE….RIGHT? Now changes with how and what we teach are necessary. Direct instruction models do work, however giving hands on experience and bringing objectives to life for students that fosters high level engagement (with all levels of students) can be paired with teaching as students progress through our school system. Science itself backs this. When we as teachers are teaching, we want our students to learn the set of skills, at hand, to mastery. We want them to store knowledge into their long term versus short term memory. In my experience as a teacher so far, I like many, have come across amazing teachers that feel the same and teachers that feel their voices have been drowned.
Why are we not more as a group largely, instead of just subsections or a small few, trying new ways to innovate, engage, enhance, and develop critical thinking skills continuously? Why do we continue to rely on assessments that lack measuring a child’s learning, in all scopes? Out of a group of 10 teachers, only 2 to 3 seem to challenge the structure or speak up to bring more innovation, engaging activities or out of the box thinking into the classroom. We learn about the different modalities of learning in college. Why do these overall seem to get put to the wayside? Why do our lesson plans not incorporate, along with standards and objectives, ways to reach all learning modalities?
Excuse the moderate rant above. I know that in some cases teachers are doing this, but it seems the laws and regulations passed at a state and federal level have become less focused on the way students actually learn. We as educators need to innovate and pair what truly works and the best learning practices with consistent evaluation (not just paper testing) for students to be successful. Engagement and combining the direct model of learning, with hands on experience will foster true magic in the classroom. What we are teaching needs to allow for students to lead, make mistakes and sometimes fail, and realize most times they succeed. We need to remember picture books. We need to make sure those moments of magic a young child speaks to at a young age is applied to all ages of learners. The system needs to be more fluid and even more so we as educators, need to speak up to our leaders and continue to do so. School board members need to come to the classrooms more often. Parents need to start using the terminology of why and being more directly involved or at the very least more aware of what is being taught to students but also how their students are performing and learning as well. Teachers need to help and speak up about best practices as well and be more willing to express their voices, even if it falls on leaders that seem to not hear. The process of learning is a miracle. We need to remember that engaging our students and blending what truly are the best practices is one of the most important elements of our job. We owe our children. We owe ourselves. We owe this world. Engaging activities paired with concrete fact delivery, without excessive lecturing is imperative. This will raise critical thinking skills and really deliver our students to the land of mastery.
Think of a picture book. We all show them to our children. Remember, few words are on each page, and every story has wonderful pictures. Our younger children imagine; see magic in pictures. I think it is time for the older children to have this opportunity as well. Let’s do it together and take the over-studying, too much homework, and over complication out of learning and teaching and just remember the magic of learning itself. Let kids be kids, don’t burn the magic out. A child that is engaged is a child that is learns. An adult that is engaged learns. It’s time we wake up.
©GoodLuckNow. All Rights Reserved. June 29, 2021