Saturday, December 4, 2010

Things you really need to know

What you really need to read is "What you really need to know" by Stephen Downes. I have summarized below. Be sure to read his entire article.
  1. How to predict consequences. Using statistics, experimenting to learn more about reactions and the world around you is important.
  2. How to read. Read: Critical thinking. Reading between the lines, ferreting out information, and cutting to the chase are extremely important.
  3. How to distinguish truth from fiction. Really. I don't know where to begin except my classes do this all the time (I try not to come off as a conspiracy theorist.) There is a lot at stake. What we eat, our health, the environment...let's talk about hidden agendas, flat out untruths, and lets learn to just question a little. Would Fox new have such a grip if people stood up and realizes the malarkey that exists.
  4. How to empathize. I like his reference to The Golden Rule. Really, if everyone adhered to the rule we would not need to spell out examples in the forms of the commandments, etc.
  5. How to be creative. Identifying patterns, thinking outside of the box....Tough as we have been so encouraged to be scripted as learners.
  6. How to communicate clearly. I think I need to work on this one.
  7. How to learn. Connecting learning to a whole. Enough said. In education it is called Big Ideas. Focusing on bringing everything around to the main tenets and principles that bind science is key. Learning to ask questions and find answers. Students do this a lot more than we realize but in class are too content to take whatever teachers say and never question or seek to find on their own.
  8. How to stay healthy.
  9. How to value yourself. Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing it is stupid. Einstein
  10. How to live meaningfully. Having a noble goal and purposefully pursuing it.
As a biology teacher I believe my subject is very important and the State believes which facts in Biology they think kids should remember (and charges me to follow through.) But I don't believe in the learning of the facts and wish that the focus were on the understanding of how bodies, environment, etc. all work together and why we see what we do in the world, and charge head on to the misconceptions that are generations old.

Talk to anyone who has been out of school. They will say that what they needed to know to get along in life was not taught in school. We know that, and many of these are able to be added into lessons that go far beyond the scripted facts.

1 comment:

  1. Louise,
    Thank you for pointing me to Stephen Downes' post--what a great article! The more of his stuff that I read, the more I respect him. I like your summary of the post and how you've related it to your life.