Wednesday, September 15, 2010

What Business is Our Business

Have you ever gone to a cafe or restaurant and ordered the special only to be told they are out of the special and you think "what business is your business"? To have plenty of food for the customer is it not? Or the one I love is the overbooking of airlines then tell the passengers we can't take everyone, once again "what business is your business"? You have x number of seats, book x number of butts to fill them, seems like a simple process to me.

In the education field our business is student learning and we must keep that focus in mind. Seems a simple concept but lets really look at a few obstacles in our way.

Higher education, are they preparing our future teachers in all the concepts, information, and tools available to our students now? It has been years since I have attended school but it must start in our teacher preparation, to use the 21st century skills with our students. We are audio-visual learners, why do I know this, because we graduated from college and I would bet that is still the learners they cater to. Since we only retain 33% of a lecture the next day that means 66% is wasted information, so lecture away for an entire class period.

Teachers who fail to recognize we are a decade into the 21st Century and we still try to prepare kids for the 1960's. These people have good hearts and care about kids, but are shorting them on all that is available to them. We don't need new ideas we just need to quit having old ones. No longer should the only teaching technique be standing in front of the class spouting knowledge. I also realize we are a trendy profession and I think some educators feel this will pass also but guess what technology is here to stay. Take advantage.

The students also have to be taught that things are changing and this will be a force feed for some, especially at the secondary level. They have been so accustomed to being spoon fed that having them take ownership in their learning or giving them choices and having them run with them will take time. Stay with it it is a battle worth fighting for their future. That is why the elementary level is the most critical, we must begin as early as possible to make sure the changes we all want to see in our field get accomplished.

Please keep in mind that people don't resist change, they resist being changed-but it has to happen so student learning at the highest level remains the business that we are in.

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