Today I was fortunate enough to attend a un-conference I helped plan #edcampphx. I sat in a session entitled Student Management/Autonomy, as much as I enjoyed the people in the group and the learning atmosphere at EdCamp something very concerning was stated and it really did not sink in until hours later.
The statement made was that kids don’t even care about school. Often it seems as though kids “care” about video games, TV, their phone but not their education. I wonder in many cases if we ever really give children something to care about in school.
Today we were hearing praise after praise about how much everyone loved the EdCamp forum, where educators learned from each, their views were valued, their expertise considered. However many times in education we are forced to be a wee bit hypocritical. We as teachers want autonomy in our classroom, we want a voice in our learning but often we do not give that to our students. Students are generally in classrooms that cover the standards but never truly uncover application level understanding of those concepts.
Sure the students seem as though they do not care about school and truthfully in the current state of education that may in fact be true. However generally speaking children are no different today than we were. They are motivated when they are given the opportunity to have their thoughts matter. Kids love to be challenged, which is one reason they can sit for hours on a video game. We do not challenge kids to apply their knowledge at high levels, which in turn leads to this “uncaring” attitude to schools.
Bottom line children do care about what challenges them. So perhaps the statement was actually correct kids don’t care about school, because they are not challenged to think. We ought to be concerned that in education we are “covering” the standards these days while destroying high level thinking. The common core is seen as the savior, however it will fix nothing if we do not begin to change practice.