Sunday, September 28, 2014

Making Learning Relevant

We know that every subject has standards that need to be taught.  The standards in turn provide the foundation for our lesson design. But, we must stop and ask ourselves a few questions before we create our daily, weekly, monthly, and year long lesson plans. What are we planning for? Are we planning how to teach these standards? Are we planning how to deliver these standards? Do we know the relevance and importance behind the standards? What will our students gain from having a fundamental understanding of the standards? What does it really mean if a student has earned an "A" in your class, what does he/she have to know?

Where am I going with this? Schooling is not about teaching in isolation. School is not here to be about school. Fundamentally, we as educators are in a position to provide students with an environment where they can explore, create, grow and build on their prior knowledge. We are here to cultivate the engineers, the artists, the musicians, the experts of tomorrow. So......we need to look at our approach. We want our students to come to school every day because they WANT TO engage and learn more, not because they HAVE TO.  So, how do we bridge the gap between what we as educators have to do, and what we want to do for our students? I think it comes down to relevance and purpose. When I am working on my Macbook and I need to learn how to do something I am unfamiliar with, I go to Youtube to find a video that not only explains in words, but demonstrates the steps for me. I then put that in action. However, that Youtube video would have been on Youtube unseen by me until I needed it. If I had watched it five days prior to my need to know, it may not have impacted me the same and I may not have retained the information since it would have seemed irrelevant at the time.

The challenge I see that each teacher faces every day is this: How do I engage my students with the standards/curriculum and make it meaningful and relevant to them? How do I teach my class so that what is learned goes beyond the walls of my classroom? 

I can say with confidence that if we continue to use age old practices of the teacher "delivering" information and "pouring" it into our students heads, it isn't going to stick.  Many of you aren't using age old practices, you are innovative, creative and are reaching our students!! I want you to share your experiences. I am looking for educators to comment on this blog post and share how you are reaching your students and making the learning relevant so that they WANT TO LEARN MORE and APPLY what they have learned. Together we can collaborate, share and create the learning environments needed in ALL classrooms to reach and impact ALL students.

Here is a video that speaks to CREATIVITY! 

Many more great things are in store for Fairfield High!

Continue to be innovative, creative, and a model of excellence! 


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