This week's article summary is The Goal of Education is Becoming from Education Week.
I like this article for the beginning of the school year because it defines the purpose of education so optimistically---and the first weeks of of school are the perfect time to think inspirationally and to dream big.
I have always looked forward to a new school year—for a baseball fan like me, it’s the same excitement I feel on Opening Day when all fans assume the best for their teams.
At the start of a new school year I always reflect on why I became—and why I continue to love—being a teacher.
Yes, in the course of the school year, we can get fatigued with the daily grind of school and its sundry duties and countless responsibilities.
Make time to reflect on whatever inspires you—a quote, a remembrance of a student who blossomed with you, etc.--during the school year whenever you need a reminder of the why teachers must be eternally optimistic about what their students will ‘become’.
Enjoy Labor Day weekend!
Is learning the best word for what we want from our schools.
Learning is the right word if our aspiration is that students graduate as learned scholars, but that’s not what most of us have in mind for K-12 schools.
Learning is important, of course, but it’s a means to an end.
The real goal of education, and of school, is becoming. Most of us would prefer our children become the very best people they can be, capable of effective thinking, acting, relating, and accomplishing in whatever field they enjoy and have a passion for.
We spend so much time and effort looking at test scores, averages, and other petty measurements of ‘learning’ that we have little time or energy left to focus on who our students are (or are not) as individuals, what they love or hate, or what drives them.
We shouldn’t be surprised, then, if they become people we do not like or respect, or if we have concerns about their potential contributions to society. There are probably billions of people in the world who have finished school without becoming what they could have. Some may have acquired knowledge and skills through their education, but have accomplished little or nothing.
Rather than constantly asking how much students have learned and obsessing about how to measure learning, we should be asking, “What did you become that you weren’t before? Have you moved in a positive direction to better yourself and society?”
Teachers should sit down a few times a year and write to students and parents about what each student is becoming. And students should be asking themselves, “Who am I becoming? Have I become a better thinker? If so, in what ways? Am I able to do things I couldn’t before? What is important to me and why? Can I relate comfortably to individuals, in teams and in virtual communities? Can I make the world a better place?”
If we had different expectations, who knows what our kids might become?