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.