Teaching our children how to think

The new Common Core curriculum Ohio is adopting over the next few years will, according to many, “turn education on its head.”  The approach is focused much more on teaching our children to think than it focuses on memorization.  I’m sure you remember your high school social studies classes:  memorize a million names and dates, and spit them back out on the test.  And until now, that has not changed all that much.

My daughter is taking AP US History this year.  When I talked with her teacher a few weeks ago, she mentioned how the AP test is changing next year and will be focused much more on understanding concepts versus knowing names, places and dates.  In my book, that’s a great thing:  we can look up the date, but if we don’t understand how the event shaped what was to come, and if we’re not able to take that information and apply it to today and the future, we haven’t really learned.

The Common Core will require a new way of teaching as well.  Our teachers will be going through professional development and support programs in a variety of ways to understand what is required and to find the best way of teaching it.  A huge challenge, to be sure, but also very exciting.

Just this past month, Sugata Mitra, an educational researcher in India, gave a TED talk on “building a school in the cloud” for the future of learning.  He has been conducting research exploring what happens in remote locations, simply by giving children computers that speak a different language than they do.

The results were amazing, with children learning the language and then solving complex problems given to them by the computer.  Through this process, Mitra was able to create true young entrepenreurs, kids who were able to think and problem-solve, and who were excited to do it.  Heather Hiles talks about it briefly here, or you can watch Mitra’s talk here.

In the meantime, it’s exciting to see the changes coming to curriculum and education.  It will be a lot of work to keep up, but the results should be worth it:  kids who can think, problem-solve, create, and who are ready for whatever our new world throws at them.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: