I get that as adults we’ve lived full lives when compared to the lives of children. We’ve traveled, been educated, held various jobs, met interesting people and had time to dabble in hobbies that bring us happiness. Kids haven’t yet had these experiences.
However, shouldn’t we provide as many of these experiences as possible in order to help our kids find their passion and a purpose in learning?
I’m currently reading David Conley’s “Getting Ready for College, Careers, and the Common Core.” He writes in his book about the importance of ownership of learning. His research and argument support my point exactly -- we need to do a better job as educators of connecting learning to the real world so that students can take ownership of their learning. This in turn will inspire all kids to see where they are going beyond high school, ultimately giving purpose to each and every day.
Conley states “Many young people [...] receive a diploma that in the end may not have much meaning, significance, or value to them.” He continues to argue, “It is not that they lack ambition or interests; they simply don’t make connections between what they are learning and where they are going beyond high school.”
How great would it be if, as parents, we no longer had to hear the “Why do I have to study Algebra?” question from our kids.
Because of this question, it is clear to me our schools are not sufficiently connecting learning to purpose.
When I think about the future, I realize I have been charged in the classroom with training children for jobs that don’t currently exist. So does the Algebra itself actually matter, or is Algebra, rather, providing the chance to problem solve, question, evaluate and apply craft to real-world examples, triggering a love of learning and an opportunity for each child to find his purpose and meaning in his life?
I want not only my own kids, but also my students, to realize that learning is meant to help them find their passion in the world. That the content is simply a means to lifelong fulfillment. That Algebra isn’t just done for the sake of completing an Algebraic equation -- it, along with all other subjects, is simply a way to have lots of experiences.
I want my kids and my students to find their passion. I want them to find a purpose for learning. I want them to have dozens of adults in their lives who inspire purposeful learning.
Is this an easy task for teachers? No.
Is it imperative? Absolutely.
Ultimately, I want all our kiddos to be able to identify their dream job in an instant.
After all, isn’t that what education is all about?