Monday, August 31, 2015

What's the Reason?

Exit ticket board (Brick by Brick)
Recently I was talking with a friend. She was telling me about her grandson and his homework. (He's in middle elementary school.) She said that the homework for the week was all on one page, and that the student's work for each day was to be written in a box at the bottom of a daily column. Only inside this box. And it was not a very large box.

I kept thinking about that conversation over and over. And I wondered why. It's hard for some kids to write in a small box. They don't have the muscle control or the economy of words or the patience to make it happen. Is it supportive of their learning if they can only be successful by working in a specific space? Why do it this way?

I'm not going to judge another teacher's motives or workflow. Especially when I don't know all the context and the facts. But I am going to rant a little anyway.

As teachers, parents, adults involved in kids lives, I think we need to ask the question WHY a lot. Not why is the child doing this or that. But why are WE doing this or that.

Why are we giving homework? What is the purpose, the intention behind it? Once we know the why, we can make the best decisions about things around it.

Why are we doing this particular activity in the classroom? Why are we doing it this way?

Are we doing things in certain ways because it's what works best for us? Should that be the criteria?

Are we doing things in a certain way because it is the best way for kids to learn?

Often I've seen adults doing things that are convenient or helpful or best for what they need...and not necessarily what the kids need. Now I know that teachers and parents have limited amounts of time and need to be organized and efficient in what they do.

But we need to make sure we are doing things that benefit and support learning and growing.

I can ask kids to do all kinds of things. But if it isn't ultimately going to help them become better learners and thinkers, do I need to do it? And do they need to do it in just my way?

I don't have pat answers. But I do have a lot of questions. Mostly one. WHY?

(And while you're thinking about this, go read one of my favorite posts from Not Just Cute - Intention Deficit Disorder.)

No comments:

Post a Comment