Thursday, December 13, 2018

R is for Relevant

During this holiday season, I thought it would be fun to use the word Christmas and apply it to education.

Today’s letter is R and R stands for relevant.

I have had to attend professional development meetings where nothing shared was relevant to my teaching situation. I felt it was a waste of my time and resented having to sit there through these things. Sometimes I brought work to do so that I felt I was using my time more wisely but it can also look rude to the speaker. Sometimes I even brought some crochet or knitting in order to help me pay attention.

The worst thing I can do when teaching a lesson to my students is to not explain how this new learning will be relevant to them. I need to show a connection to their current situation. Maybe what I’m teaching is a skill that will help them be successful in the future. Maybe this new skill is a foundation for something we are going to learn next. Maybe this skill is something that will make their life easier right now. If I can’t find some connection and show how it is relevant, then I need to scrap this lesson. I will be wasting their time and my time.

I would not give lessons to my students on how to drive a horse and buggy if they will never need this information. I would not teach a student how to write in calligraphy style if they will never use this skill. It is different if they show an interest and want to learn these things because this interest makes the learning relevant. But if they have no interest and there is no need, then I don’t need to teach it.

Maybe a lesson at the beginning of the year is not relevant at that time but later in the year, it might be. That will be an appropriate time for me to teach this lesson.

Teaching students that their tastes and interests may change over time and that this is okay is a valuable lesson. I’ve learned many new things over the past few years that I never thought I’d have an interest in learning. Years ago, it was not relevant to me but when I was interested in learning this specific thing, then it became relevant.

How do you decide what is relevant to your students? Please share.

Photo by Evelyn on Unsplash

No comments: