Why My Class Will Not Be Efficient

What a disservice it would be…To bring together 25 uniquely made children, each boasting uncommon experiences, uncontainable interests, various upbringings, and then disregard all of that for the teacher’s pompous plan.

 

Would you rather have your child become a creator or a cog? A cog is formed to fit into one specific spot and maintain one duty. That gear may look nice and shiny on the outside with its refined skill-set, but it performs limited functions. A creator is surely interactive, artistic, and dynamic. The needed environment for developing these two would be quite different.

 

The making of a cog:

One must be told where to go and what to do requiring strict training and redundancy. A controlled environment removed from all variables. Very efficient!

 

 

The making of a creator:

A creator must draw deep understanding of herself and the world around her from authentic experiences. The creator engages and explores available resources and surroundings.
 
I hope the image on the right displays the characteristics of my classroom community this year. (Which of the two pictured neighborhoods would you rather visit?)




Jon Acuff suggests that relationships are not designed to be efficient but instead messy. I struggle with this since I’m working towards being a more relational teacher to my students. But again I think this boils down to our personal intentions. If my intention is to deliver as much content as possible to my students then I must forfeit in the area of relationship. If my intent is to stand with my students through support, encouragement, and authentic interactions then I’m going to have to concede strict control over the specifics of student learning.

Many teachers have the syllabus structured and set no matter what kid walks in the door. These teachers embrace efficiency while neglecting creativity and student autonomy.
Without knowing the future world our youth will grow up in, I think a focus on social-emotional development will serve them better than a strict academic agenda. It will also give them the tools to better navigate their learning as young adults and in their eventual professions.

 

I will take depth and vulnerability over efficiency. This philosophy will grow life-long learners much more than the teacher that covers a large quantity of content on the surface, which obviously lacks genuine engagement.  Which results in a healthier person?
 
Here’s too a “messy” year!

See also: “How to Avoid a Shallow Education”
 
Ryan Hershey see my blog at
www.faithandeducationcollide.blogspot.com

The Way We’re Made to Learn

“Are we there yet? Are we there yet? How about now?” Curiosity can be annoying sometimes. Especially when it is the persistent kind. Don’t worry parents and teachers,  it’s been documented that we, as humans ask less and less questions as we age. On the surface this might sound relieving to the exhausted caretaker, but I actually find it quite concerning. I’d much rather be surrounded by learners who question and search for truth, rather than ones who just want to know they’re right. Unfortunately I’ve witnessed education that has produced the latter.


We label children as being naive and ignorant when really the adults are the ones too busy with the mundane to engage with what matters, resulting in a harmful ignorance. So often today I find people are fighting to be heard (myself included), instead of a people who first: engage, explore, research, and consider.


I see a shift in our curiosity as we age. Children ask questions and explore based on genuine personal interest. As adults our curiosity is driven based on a motive to be right, and to build support for our predetermined position. When does such a shift happen? What are we doing to cause this? 

Why don’t we follow the development methods God has used in reaching His people spiritually. He speaks to us using a personal authentic experience, our inquiry, and then application of what has been learned. Obviously God knows how His creation learns best, so why don’t we use this same model in our academic process.

Why would God choose to leave us with such wonder and mystery, not only about this world but also about who He is? I think he desires His learners to have a healthy practice of wrestling in wonder and deeply exploring curiosities that result in perspective, overarching respect, and of course wisdom. I look to C.S. Lewis as being a fantastic model of this, and boy did he land on those three resulting characteristics.  

So teach them to explore and to be curious. Let’s be quick to question, thorough in seeking, and slow in concluding. For if our kids can maintain and engage their curiosity over time they’ll be equipped for a life full of learning. When God draws their attention to Himself, these learners, filled with curiosity, will not dismiss it or misinterpret the encounter. They will engage, seek, and discover who He is. I this this concept of inquiry learning closely relates to “God’s Vision for the Classroom” (a past post).

Imagine how better prepared our kids would be if we didn’t just quickly give them an answer loaded with bias, but took the time to wonder, inquire, and discover along side them. This world would be relieved of much hate and ignorance.

What do you wonder about? Engage your wonder. You will not be disappointed!


Ryan Hershey see my blog at
www.faithandeducationcollide.blogspot.com