A child asks “Why do I need to know this?” As a teacher the pressing reason is because it will be on a standardized test. Of course ALL knowledge is valuable, but to learn it really needs to be relevant to our curiosities, needs and desires.
Some of the benchmarks teachers are required to teach are not that relevant when looking at the surface value. Does the average American need to know how to graph the slope of a line, know who why the war of 1812 was fought or know how a subduction zone affects the Earth? Probably not.
Does technology sometimes hurt us in making it relevant? “Why do I need to learn to multiply if the calculator can do it?” or better still “There is an app for that!” Technology has taken some of the relevance away from teaching. When teaching measurement and how to read a ruler I was told by a contractors son that “My dad has a laser he points to the wall to make the measurement.” After he brought the tool in to show me, I found it to be more accurate and saves time. Should we all know how to measure, certainly because we need to make sure the technology is working correctly and some of us will go on to create technology that makes our lives easier.
If standards can not be made relevant to a students, they will not learn them. We need to realize that all standards will not be relevant to all students. Luckily most students will find most standards relevant if connected to their lives in the proper manner. Parents, teachers and communities need to make this learning relevant by sparking curiosities and asking questions.
Too often connections aren’t made and learning is hindered. I hear: “My parents don’t know the answer” or “I am not good at _____”.
It is not about others knowing or being good it is about figuring our something new. This needs to be encouraged.
In reality school is NOT about the standards that we are required to teach but about learning HOW to learn new things.
WHY? Because everybody has to learn new things everyday to survive in our society.