Teachers are traditionally seen as the main sources of knowledge and learning in schools, but, as we know, there is more to being an educator than imparting scientific facts and teaching math equations. As discussed on Maryville University’s Higher Education Leadership page, teachers have the responsibility of helping students grow and adapt to the changing times — whether it’s dealing with a fluctuating economy, evolving technology, or a global pandemic. These lessons go beyond what you can read in a book or present on a smart board, and we believe some of the most important lessons for students actually come from fostering natural traits in students.
Keep reading for three takeaways we can learn from students’ interaction with the world:
1. Stay Curious
Young children are often known for asking "Why?" in regard to just about everything, which can quickly become cumbersome for the person fielding their questions, but, in the words of G.K. Chesterson, "The things we see everyday are the things we never see at all." Doing things the way they have always been done is a natural rhythm to fall into, but the comfort of normalcy is the enemy is innovation. Children's desire to explore why things are the way they are helps us not only develop a deeper understanding of our surroundings, but an inquisitive nature will lead us from just asking "why?" to asking "why not?" when insufficient explanations stimulate the pursuit of innovation.
As we previously shared in our 'Creating Schools That Are Safe Places to Solve Problems' post, in the age of artificial intelligence finding and filtering the world's information, we must focus on developing human intelligence by enhancing problem solving skills. The foundation of solving a problem is the ability to clearly define a problem, and curiosity drives problem identification.
2. Ask Your Neighbor for the Answer
Chances are, you’ve probably caught your students asking their classmate for the answer to a question. Although there is definitely a place for individual work, there is also something to be said about the willingness to admit a knowledge gap and seek collaboration. Adults are less likely to seek help even if they’re stumped in a situation. This is due in part to the misconception that adults are expected to have everything figured out, but the truth is, learning and being humble enough to ask for help doesn't stop at any age. In fact, findings from The Great Work Study reveal that 72% of people who aren’t afraid to ask advice about work end up excelling more than their peers who avoid asking for advice. So, the next time you catch your students asking around, engage them in discussion of how best to incorporate collaborative learning into a virtual or in-person class experience.
3. Focus on Application > Memorization
Whether it’s memorizing historical dates or figuring out tricky math equations, you may have heard students question the significance of the content being covered. This often isn't a sign of laziness, but rather a valuable perspective to develop on assessing the value of information. In the age of information, students have constant access to a seemingly infinite amount of knowledge, and understanding what information is most valuable to focus on is an essential skillset.
While there is value in a base of knowledge to be a productive and well-rounded member of society, facts and figures can easily be Googled - and frequently Googled information will be memorized out of convenience. Forced memorization without frequent application, on the other hand, is rarely retained.
Focusing on the application of information, not only the information itself, will help drive engagement and retention in any learning environment.
Written in collaboration with: Rachel Cassidy
To learn more about how we can help develop your school's culture of problem solving both virtually and in person, Connect with our Team