“In the past, I have recommended to teachers that WE ALL are responsible for teaching kids good information and Internet skills. A response I have heard several times, ‘The kids know more that we do anyway.’ No, they don't. They are not afraid of technology and they USE technology, but oddly, we prohibit their familiar tools (like cell phones and social networks) when they get inside the school building.”
I feel, as teachers, it is important for us not to just show students the tools and how to use them, but to be responsible too. When we teach students to drive, we don’t just teach them the basics in order to get them to move a car forward and backwards. We teach them the laws and how to make decisions based on their knowledge. When I took a driver’s education course, we learned how to figure out gas mileage and how to read a map too. When students learn how to drive, do they know great places to go? Do they know about the public library and how to get there? Do they know where some museums are and how to find out about them (directions, hours, cost of admission, exhibit information)? Do they know where the state and national parks are that may be near them? There is so much more we can add to their basic knowledge once they learn how to use a tool.
TJ is right that many students are not afraid of trying new technology and using it the best that they know how. But we can show them how to use it better and more effectively if we take the time to learn it ourselves and share this information with them. We have the knowledge and background to figure this out easier than our students do because we have learned how to learn. We need to teach our students how to learn too.
Many of my students could only read cereal boxes and ads in the paper but I wanted to broaden their knowledge base. I got them to read newspaper articles and form opinions. Some even read super hero comic books and thought that was as good as reading a book. Then I had them read magazine articles that they might be interested in or about a hobby they had. Later we moved to comic book classics and they were amazed that there were other forms of literature out there besides thick and overwhelming books. We eventually moved to young adult novels and critical thinking with their reading. They learned to discuss these books and develop their critical thinking skills even further. I didn’t have the attitude that “the kids knew more than I did anyway so why bother.” I enjoyed watching them grow.
Many students will even try to tell me that they know how to do stuff but it is up to me to tell them they might now how, but I might be able to show them a better or easier way. Students love to find an easier way to do something. Then I also explain that I might learn a few things from them too but this exchange of ideas is as important as learning something.
TJ also states “We are educators...We must not hide behind cliches as excuses. We have studied pedagogy and we must use it to best instruct our students.”
I applaud TJ’s attitude and wholeheartedly agree! It is with this attitude that we will have a successful classroom and push successful students out into the real world!
Original image: 'no excuses' http://www.flickr.com/photos/28473961@N02/3347023861 by: Colin