Seeing tweets, over and over again, regarding the villainization of “worksheets,” (I know I have been guilty of this as well) I tweeted the following:
Teachers… If you give a worksheet in your class, you are not bad at your job. If that’s all you do all the time, that’s a different story, but that’s true of any strategy.
— George Couros (@gcouros) March 23, 2018
https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.jsI struggle with the “black and white” generalization of practices because many great teachers do these practices right now. One of the tweets that I received on this struck me:
Thanks for making this statement. I actually have quit getting on Twitter as much due because of all the Do’s and Don’t being thrown our way. It seriously makes you feel terrible as an educator and knowing how hard you work.
— Kelli Ogle (@teachtechthings) March 23, 2018
https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.jsWhen I look at educators on social media, it is to inspire people to get better, not scare them off of platforms because they feel they are doing everything wrong.
Do I think worksheets are fantastic and super fun? Nope.
There are a million variations on what a “worksheet” can constitute. What I first see in my head doesn’t seem too compelling in my mind, but that doesn’t mean that can’t be beneficial.
In my own life, I am going to tell you straight up, that I do things I hate.
All. Of. The. Time.
But those things I hate, are often pathways to things I love, or in pursuit of a more significant purpose. I have been focusing on my health lately, and running on the treadmill is something that I have dreaded for years. Recently, it has been easier because I am thinking of it differently, not because the activity has changed.
I am seeing it as part of a bigger picture and leading to a better quality of life for not only myself but the time I spend with my daughter. I have more energy at home than I have in a while, and that investment in myself, even when it is in something that I am not fond of, seems much more natural to not only endure but to embrace.
The same things will apply to students in a classroom. They are more likely to embrace something that is not the most “engaging” when they know it is part of a bigger purpose. I have been guilty early on in my career of telling students that they have to do something, “because I said so.” They didn’t see the bigger picture because I couldn’t articulate it to them. Probably, because I couldn’t see the purpose myself.
Read the quote below:
Of course, every educator would say they want their students to feel “empowered.” But, this is not about “compliance” versus “empowerment.” It is a spectrum.
It is about how sometimes the “compliance” leads to the skills and thoughts for “empowerment.”
This post is not about the purpose of worksheets. Is it about getting people to think – Do worksheets (or a million other things in education) lead to something purposeful?
When you find that “purpose,” the hard and tedious things seem a lot easier to take. Without them though, the learner experience in our classrooms can be tough to swallow.
Source: George Couros