2 Questions to Focus on Long-Term Learning in Classrooms

It is “conference season” for many educators, and I have seen the wave of “60 Tools in 60 Minute” sessions being posted online.  The promise is often made that there will be ideas that you can implement “the next day!” for your classroom.

Is this a good or bad thing?

First of all, having access to ideas is not a bad idea.  But looking for a “quick-fix” for your classroom is focused more on engaging students than it is a necessary long-term solution.  Ideas matter in the way you apply them to your context, now how they are carbon-copied for your classroom.  I continuously state that relationships are the foundation of education, so knowing your class is where we take advantage of finding what works for the students in front of us, not what will work with any student anywhere.  If there were one thing that worked for every student in the world, every educator would know it.

But more importantly, we ask for our students to be “resilient” and “critical thinkers,” which is necessary, but if we always are looking for simple things to do the next day, are we modeling the same aspirations for our students in our own professional development?  The best ideas are often not easy to implement and take time, but that is where we get the most value long-term.

As you think about what we do with students in a classroom, here are a few questions to think about:

  1. What will students “create” because of their learning in my classroom/our school?
  2. How will this “empower” students in the long-term to learn and create on their own?

Reading the questions above doesn’t mean that “consumption” or “compliance and engagement” aren’t part of the process in schools or classrooms.  It is just that we focus going on way beyond those measures.

Education is not an easy endeavor.  Anyone who has ever spent time in the classroom can tell you that.  But the challenge is the best part of the process.  The deep learning and push that we create for our students and ourselves are what will propel learners to a place where powerful learning becomes the norm and not the exception.

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Source: George Couros

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