All week, we will be sharing (numbered) points from Seth Godin’s new education manifesto, Stop Stealing Dreams (what is school for?). You can download a free copy of the full 100-page manifesto at Squidoo.com.
109. What great teachers have in common is the ability to transfer emotion
Every great teacher I have ever encountered is great because of her desire to communicate emotion, not (just) facts.
A teacher wrote to me recently, “I teach first grade and while I have my mandated curriculum, I also teach my students how to think and not what to think.
I tell them to question everything they will read and be told throughout the coming years.
I insist they are to find out their own answers. I insist they allow no one to homogenize who they are as individuals (the goal of compulsory education).
I tell them their gifts and talents are given as a means to make a meaningful difference and create paradigm changing shifts in our world, which are so desperately needed.
I dare them to be different and to lead, not follow. I teach them to speak out even when it’s not popular.
I teach them ‘college’ words as they are far more capable than just learning, ‘sat, mat, hat, cat, and rat.’
Why can’t they learn words such as cogent, cognizant, oblivious, or retrograde just because they are five or six? They do indeed use them correctly which tells me they are immensely capable.”
What’s clear to me is that teaching first graders words like “cogent” and “retrograde” isn’t the point. It’s not important that a six-year-old know that.
What is important, vitally important, is that her teacher believes she could know it, ought to know it, and is capable of knowing it.
We’ve been spending a fortune in time and money trying to stop teachers from doing the one and only thing they ought to be doing: coaching. When a teacher sells the journey and offers support, the student will figure it out. That’s how we’re wired.
132. What we teach
When we teach a child to make good decisions, we benefit from a lifetime of good decisions.
When we teach a child to love to learn, the amount of learning will become limitless.
When we teach a child to deal with a changing world, she will never become obsolete.
When we are brave enough to teach a child to question authority, even ours, we insulate ourselves from those who would use their authority to work against each of us.
And when we give students the desire to make things, even choices, we create a world filled with makers.