Happy Thursday, everyone!
Since we’re getting ready for a Friday wedding, today has felt more like Friday than Thursday in many ways, and Amelia and I have been having a wonderful busy time. We have been seeing close friends (apparently we are girls who do lunch, something we’ve always wanted to be, and now we’re at a soccer field watching Daddy referee. Sort of.
Actually it proved too hot for a hungry, sleepy pigeon, so we’re going to try again in a little bit and just now we’re having a nap in the car while mommy writes this.
In between, we stopped at Starbucks to enjoy a lovely little birthday gift and air conditioning and I struck up a conversation with some ladies near me who were wrapping up the last of their grading for the year. They were both experienced high school teachers discussing the challenges of introducing technology in the classroom, keeping unmotivated students engaged, and other difficulties they face every day.
Now some of you might be surprised at my interest in such issues, especially those who’ve heard me talk about my hopes to homeschool Amelia. And it’s true that I am deeply concerned about the impact of current federal and state education policies on a system already stressed by too many children with wildly varied needs. But no matter how Neal and I decide to address these issues for Amelia, this concern is exactly why I’m so interested.
So anyway, the big thing this teacher said about the challenges she and her colleagues gave in the classroom, other than the constant pressure of No Child Left Behind and Common Core and other movements that increase testing and try to quantify teacher performance, is that there is a major paradigm shift teachers need to make in order to adequately prepare children for our connected and information-rich environment. I’m not sure I agree with her, so I’m asking you what you think.
Essentially, she believes that teaching content is not and should not be a teacher’s focus. Instead, teachers should emphasize the importance of data literacy over subject matter learning. Today’s children will have lifelong access to any information they need with a simple internet search, so the goal of education shouldn’t be to provide information, but instead the tools needed to effectively search for, analyze, and use found information.