Mindful Learning

Before entering grad school, I hadn’t thought too deeply about the current education system and the various flaws it might have. During the first month of grad school I saw a Youtube video by Prince Ea, arguing against the current structure of education in the United States. He includes comments related to how the advancement of technology and how the rest of the world seems to have adapted/changed, except for the education system. After hearing some of the comments Prince Ea included in the video made me want to talk to my sister as she is a 4th grade teacher. It was intriguing talking to her about some of the ways she is required to teach as it has changed drastically from when I was in 4th grade, but almost seem to make it more complicated and more difficult to learn. I asked my sister why this was the case, and she was unable to really give me a reason except for that’s the new direction teaching was moving.

Langer introduced the concept of “what we teach” compared to “how we teach it” as we currently do one, but should focus on the other. Currently we are so focused on the content or “what we teach” (teaching to a test) that we can get distracted by how students are receiving the information and if they are actually learning from it. We have gotten so focused on how we have taught information the last 20 plus years, that we don’t always actively think about new ways to approach teaching. However, we need to focus on “how we teach” the material to students as the new generation is very different and has access to significantly more compared even my generation. I don’t have the answers to how this needs to change exactly, but something has to happen for the next generation of students to be able to fully succeed and reach their potential.

Additionally, in Sir Ken Robinson’s video, he includes information on how it’s not necessarily that we don’t have qualified teachers in schools currently, it’s mainly that the system is the overall issue/problem. He had numerous additional great comments and provided important information that would be beneficial for the education system to listen to and adjust.

8 Replies to “Mindful Learning”

  1. Thanks for the post. How we teach is the real question! since what we teach is already out there and almost everybody working in the same field as you, know about it. we are so much concerned about the material for teaching that we forget sometimes to let students know why they should learn this and that or are we transferring the information in the best way possible. Us as students, and many others would tell you about their experiences of being in a class that they still could not figure out why they took it after finishing it up and all of these goes back to the word “how”. Thanks

    1. I agree! Students in this day and age are nothing but test takers. In the State of Virginia, the Standards of Learning have taken over the classrooms. Most teachers are afraid to think out of the box or be creative. They know that if their students don’t PERFORM well on the SOL test, there job could be on the line. It is important to provide additional resources that may assist with lessons being taught. We can’t just tell students what to do, we must show them what to do.

  2. Thank you for your post and sharing the video Matt, it was remarkable. You bring up some good points about the comparison between how and what which is an important distinction. I think you partly gave the answer to your own question – in order for educational systems to change, teachers/educators need to change. They need to be the ones questioning, advocating, and innovating. Now I know the point comes up is that they are not paid well enough…where will the motivation come from, right?! My mom was a grade school teacher her entire life and let me tell you, if I’d asked her the same question like you asked your sister, she would give me the same answer. As in the video, we definitely cannot have students in grade school advocate for themselves, so somewhere somehow this effort has to come from adults that have their interest at heart. What do you think?

    1. All I am going to say is that it takes very special people to teach. Someone who truly have a passion for what they do and do it well in and outside of the classroom.

  3. Matt, thank you for your post and sharing the video. If teacher edition books, curriculums and pacing charts are provided and you have a little knowledge in the subject area, most likely you can teach it. The important thing is HOW to teach individuals you have no desire to know outside of the classroom. As I stated many times, building relationships are extremely beneficial. Once you know your students, you will know HOW to teach them effectively.

  4. I liked your post, Matt. It seems like profit is central to the university model as well—leading to things like increasing beaucratization of higher learning through assessments and the need to meet certain objective, codified criteria, rather than focus on the quality and substance of your work. Thanks for the post!

  5. Matt, first thank you for your post! I completely agree, I often wonder about what we teach our students vs. how we teach it. Our educational system (primary, secondary and post-secondary) looks as students as receptacles and trash bins to dump information to. They don’t always take the time to allow students to concepts and knowledge and make meaning of what they’re learning for themselves. I’m so thankful to call you a colleague in the field and look forward to taking the higher education world by storm with you!

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