Leading a student to knowledge…

horsetowater

“Why do I need to know this Mr. Bloch?” a student cries out from the side of the room. I answer the question carefully to the middle school science class. “We need to know how sunlight is converted into food that we use for energy.” “Why?” he exclaims again, “I know food gives me energy and can Google photosynthesis so why?” Conversations like this happen regularly in today’s classrooms. Teachers present knowledge and parts of their class don’t care to learn. Roughly 1/3 of my students display apathy to learning new things. When was the last time you needed to know the in’s and out’s of photosynthesis?

Growing up I didn’t question what I was learning, I just knew it was required to move forward so I learned. So did most of my classmates. When I was trained as a teacher, I learned what to teach, how to teach the material in engaging ways, how to manage disruptive behaviors, how to adapt lessons to students with learning disabilities and how to assess learning. I never learned how to make students thirsty for learning. Is that a teachers job? Yes, but without the help of a society that places value on education it can be very difficult. Society judges schools on their test scores, these scores require the students to want to learn what is needed. (What these tests actually measure needs to be addressed in another blog post. )

great teaching

Teachers need to focus their instruction on the art of motivation! We need to engage students in their desire to learn new ideas. Reading “Teach Like a Pirate” by Dave Burgess opened my eyes to this just over 4 years ago. Now their are a slew of incredible teacher written books that address the idea of creating thirst in our students. Our students see the power in knowledge but they can Google all facts. Students need to see that applying knowledge to new situations is what separates individuals and grants power.  When looking at the top 10 skills needed for workforce in 2020: communication and collaboration are the most critical skills are students need for their future. For the past 4 summers I have spent countless hours rethinking HOW I teach to make my students PARCHED.

Remain ever thirsty for knowledge my friends.

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