What are the three practices you need to avoid if you hope to create lifelong learners? At ProjectEngin, we call them the three T’s.
Yes, we started our list with teaching!
We often equate teaching to with learning, talking at with discussing, and testing with assessing understanding. But maybe it is time to move away from doing things to or at students and to start doing things with them.
We are trained as “teachers” but what if we joined our students as learners? Clearly, it is time to change the practice from “teaching to” to “learning with”. What a great way to model lifelong learning! It would be so much easier to focus on critical thinking and collaboration as vital parts of education.
What if we stopped “talking at” or “to”, and began to “talk with”? Think how much more we would model communication, problem-solving, and empathy.
What if instead of using tests to assess knowledge, we focused on challenges and tasks in order to assess understanding? The application of ideas requires a deeper understanding and an awareness of connections as well as systems impacts. Applying knowledge leads one step closer to mastery and requires innovative and creative thought.
We work within the confines of an education system that has roots in the 1800s. It was a time when content was king and the classroom was a way to disseminate facts. Two hundred years later, content is at our fingertips and teaching needs to go far beyond both the transmission of information and a simple check to see if it has been received. Students need to learn how to make use of content and work with and expand ideas. Every classroom needs to include active ways to build the skills needed to access, apply, and extend information. And you need a way to assess those skills along with content.
So, as you re-think your approach for the new school year that begins next month, think about replacing the 3 T’s with the 4 C’s, Super Skills for the 21st Century . Develop a classroom culture that values critical thinking, creativity, collaboration and communication by learning with and talking with your students. Look for real understanding and assess it through the application, extension, and innovation of ideas.
It is time to stop telling your students “how to” swim and to let them jump into the water!
If you need help diving in, contact us to learn how you can banish the Terrible T’s and have a terrific year!