Know, remember, and do or create, solve, and teach?

Know, remember, and do or create, solve, and teach? Which is better?

I want my students to know, remember, and do content, curriculum ... stuff.

I want my students to create content, solve problems, and teach peers.

Which is better?

The teacher will direct all student activity with a target of completion and compliance.

The teacher will focus on cultivating skills that are not dependent on a single content, and allow freedom for students to explore new problems, teach those around them, and create learning opportunities for themselves.

Which is better?

So, if you think that create, solve, teach > know, remember, do, what is the first step?

  • Lead with skills not content.

  • Focus on connection not completion.

  • Be ready to defend what you teach.

Lead with skills, not with content.

I wrote about this before in this post. I talked about how schools kneel and pray at the altar of content failing to realize that learning is not the completion of directions, but the acquisition of skills. Why is it that we lead with content rather than teach skills? Why can we not focus on the skills that will improve learning in my classroom and the math classroom and the language arts classroom rather than activity that can only be used in one instance? Why can I not lead with skills and then walk them back to standards?

Learning is not compartmentalized, but school is. Learning science is nothing like learning history, but it could be. It could be that we view learning not as reaching the bottom of a worksheet, but as becoming comfortable with shifting from a state of inability to a state of ability. That shift requires skills, not tasks.

What if you started with these essential learning skills ?

Focus on connection, not completion.

How does learning in one space facilitate learning in another space? How can we begin to use the term "learn" and "teach myself" interchangeably? The answer is focusing on connection. How do I connect skills, resources, and individuals in learning. Rather than information being dispersed, how do I make sense of it as scholar? How, as a learner, do I find and create connections between what I learn in this unit and the next?

More important, how do I find connections with those with whom I learn? How does the process of learning bring me closer to my classmates? Where there may be relief in completion, there is belonging in a community of learning.

Be ready to defend what you teach.

If you don't know why you are teaching what you are teaching, you shouldn't teach it. Think about how much of what you teach is Googleable. How many answers can I find in less than a second?

If you begin to look at how you teach through the lens of skills rather than content, people are going to talk . I'm just sayin'. They'll talk. They will question why you choose to focus on skills that can be used to learn in multiple subjects rather than covering the content. They will question why you allow students to find their own connections rather than complete the packet. They will question you intent rather than see your results. So, if you are going to do this, be ready to defend how and why you teach the way you do. Practice your response. Be ready to give it at any time. Believe in what you do.

If you have more questions connect with me on Twitter or Voxer. Send me an email. There is not one way to change how you teach. It's personal. Reach out.

Your thoughts are welcomed and encouraged,

Dane Barner


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