Mr. Ackerman's Blog

Learning For Last Year?

November 6, 2011 · 1 Comment

At dinner tonight my niece was jokingly asked by her father if she could tell us what continent the Incas were from.  My niece smiled and responded, “I don’t remember, we only had to learn that for last year.” I am guessing many other students would have responded the same way. This is a problem.  This small exchange between father and daughter opens up many questions around what we should teach and what we want students to be able to do.  Schools need to do more than simply have students learn material for the test  (last year’s test).  The Incas example made me wonder:

  • “What did the teacher want the students to retain from learning about the Incas?
  • If we can  “Google It, ” should we be spending time teaching it?
  • Are schools too focused on content and not enough on skills?

I am not sure of the answers, but they are worth pondering.

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1 response so far ↓

  •   David C. // Dec 5th 2011 at 8:03 pm

    The question of “If we can Google it, should we spend time teaching it” is not a simple yes/no question. There is a certain amount of basic understanding needed, and facts are needed in order to put information into the proper context. We can all use a calculator, but it is still important to know basic math facts.

    Your last question is the million dollar question. What I see as a manager at a biotech company is that the best performers at work are those who have well developed skills in critical thinking, logic and communication (written and oral). In the end they will be trained on the specific information they may lack, but need to execute their jobs, but if they lack the skills to understand the job, perform the job, and eventually improve or expand the work then we will not succeed.

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