As an Educator, What’s Your Purpose? #BCSLearns

Alfie Kohn, for me, has always been an author and researcher who has pushed me to question and, often times, think differently.  I recently came across an article he wrote in the April 2011 edition of the American School Board Journal entitled “Well, Duh!” — Ten Obvious Truths That We Shouldn’t Be Ignoring.   These truths made me think about the purpose of education.  Below are the 10 truths (be sure to read the article where Kohn explains his thinking around each truth):

  1. Much of the material students are required to memorize is soon forgotten
  2. Just knowing a lot of facts doesn’t mean you’re smart
  3. Students are more likely to learn what they find interesting
  4. Students are less interested in whatever they’re forced to do and more enthusiastic when they have some say
  5. Just because doing raises standardized test scores doesn’t mean should be done
  6. Students are more likely to succeed in a place where they feel known and cared about
  7. We want children to develop in many ways, not just academically
  8. Just because a lesson (or book, or class, or test) is harder doesn’t mean it’s better
  9. Kids aren’t just short adults
  10. Substance matters more than labels

Finally as evidence by the brief 2-minute video where Kohn questions the current state of education and asks, “What’s the purpose?”, you’ll get a taste of how Kohn pushes our thinking.  Would you like to think more about the purpose of education? Take a quick look at philosopher Noam Chomsky’s short video where he suggests the goal of education ought to be to “inquire, create, search for the bridges of the past…help people determine how to learn on your own.” As an educator, what’s your purpose!

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