At the beginning of each school year, parents pour into my science classroom on curriculum night, eager to hear what their child will be learning in the coming months. About three years ago my message to parents changed. I have begun telling them that I still teach content in my science class, but it is no longer the focus of our curriculum. Content is now everywhere, and in today’s world it is not something that a student must rely on the teacher to provide. Skills, however, still need to be learned. And so I tell parents that my job is to teach the students how to find the content, how to use the content, and when to believe the content.
This does not mean that I do not teach them scientific concepts. Biology, chemistry, and physics are still active parts of my classroom curriculum. However, my focus is on them learning how to carry out a lab and connect their results to the world around them. I teach them how to brainstorm, design, and build various items that will achieve a meaningful purpose. I let them explore various opinions on topics and then explain where they stand on these issues. I make them think about their every day actions with regard to the sustainability of our world, and I require them to consider the repercussions of their choices. I let them create with technology so that they are prepared to engage with a world that is changing by the moment. And I learn that new technology myself, because I believe that if I don’t attempt to keep up with my students, then they will leave me far behind.
And so for today’s post I thank Thomas Whitby for directing me to this TEDxNYED video of Will Richardson. Hearing his thoughts have validated my own. Despite our own personal ideas of what education should be, sometimes a little validation goes a long way.
Below is Will Richardson’s TEDxNYED speech. Check out his blog at weblogg-ed.