Sunday, 20 March 2016

What is the purpose of education? Is it reflected in our classroom?

What is the purpose of education?  A lot of people would probably answer this question by saying "learning how to read/write/do maths" or "learn what you need to know to do a job".  I don't believe that this is what education is.  Dr Tony Wagner states that there are seven skills that students need for their futures (see clip below), and that it is our job as educators to teach these skills to our students.  He states in the clip that content knowledge is important, and that we shouldn't stop teaching knowledge.  However, it is imperative the students understand and use the seven skills appropriately.

The Seven Skills:
  1. Critical thinking and problem solving
  2. Collaboration and leadership
  3. Agility and adaptability
  4. Initiative and entrepreneuralism
  5. Effective oral and written communication
  6. Accessing and analysing information
  7. Curiosity and imagination

While watching this clip I began questioning and reflecting upon my own teaching practice.  Am I falling into the trap of teaching to the test?  Am I focusing too much on making sure my students are accelerating their learning to achieve the National Standards?  Am I putting enough emphasis on the key competencies?  Are the students in my class really engaging with the tasks or are they just going through the motions?  

I believe that purpose of education is to develop skills and knowledge to use in the wider community/world.  I don't believe that your education ever ends - you are always learning.  Is this reflected in our classroom? In some aspects, yes it is.  I am always using the expression "You learn something everyday", I am not afraid to say "I don't know", and I have had students teach me how to do something using digital technology in front of the class.  I have shared with my class what I have learned through my post-grad studies.  I really do believe in showing my students that I am learning too.  But would someone know this if they just walked into our room?  What can I change/modify to make the purpose of education more visible in the classroom?

Definitely something to ponder.