Okay, it’s complete out-of-the-box thinking time.
Why do schools teach what they do?
Really, that’s what I’m asking…what’s it good for?
How is the content curriculum that we teach kids helping them?
(And I am not accepting any version of “it prepares them for the next level of school.”)
In older posts on this blog, I’ve written that school curriculum NEEDS a major shift: (whole post here)
21st century learners need thinking skills. They need to be able to find, process, and evaluate information that is EVERYWHERE and always accessible. They need to be able to participate in an interconnected, wired world in effective and responsible ways. They NEED to be taught how to manage/handle/thrive amidst all of the information that is out there and continuing to grow.
Our allegiance to English, Science, Math, and Social Studies as core curricular ideals and the end-all-be-all in student learning needs to make room for higher order thinking, questioning, and information literacy.
And after sharing my thoughts on the NYTimes reported failure of a laptop program, I offered: (whole post here)
Our curricula of content mired in Language Arts, Math, Science, and Social Studies is not preparing students for anything but further education focused on these same subjects.
What students learn needs to be different and how they learn needs to be different.
These are not unique ideas. Throughout the edublogosphere in varying degrees, educators are talking about the importance of a 21st Century Curriculum (for lack of a better name).
So I ask this question, in light of the shared belief that a 21st Century curriculum focused on thinking, communicating and collaborating skills is necessary for a world in which knowledge is so readily accessible.
What is the point of the way current curriculum is setup?
More specifically, break it down into the classic subjects:
- Why do we learn Language Arts (or English in HS)?
- Why do we learn Social Studies?
- Why do we learn Science?
- Why do we learn Math?
- Why do we learn Art (performing and visual)?
(note: I stick to these subjects, because Language learning seems to have an obvious practicality, as does Health/PE.)
Is this too bold to ask? Can we defend what we do as schools?
No more, “That’s the way we’ve always done it” defense.
Out of the box time.
Prove that what we say we value is useful.
Truly no offense intended to any of these subjects and the educators who teach them. I just want to hear from the experts what the right answers are.
Please feel free to answer any and all in the comments.