Learning to Care

    cc licensed ( BY SD ) flickr photo shared by Noukka Signe
    Recently reading the Seth Godin book titled, “Stop Stealing Dreams”, one of his stories really stuck out to me.  He talked about the low number of people that can actually find Greece on the map and how this would be a growing concern for many.  What he talked about was not necessarily a lack of knowledge, but a lack of something else:
    “…the problem isn’t that we haven’t spent enough hours memorizing the map. The problem is we don’t want to.”
    I think about my own work and I have actually really focused on moving away from teaching anything without focusing on why it is important first.  I never just start showing people how to use Twitter, but actually show them why they should care to learn it in the first place.  My whole focus has been on why we should do something before I even start to do it.
    Do we do this enough schools?  Does the curriculum that we have to get through give us enough time?  Do we do this enough in our staff meetings?  I have seen far too many meetings start with simply doing a learning activity without any discussion on why it is important in the first place.
    Think about anything that you have learned in a deep manner; did you care about it?  What made you care in the first place?  Even thinking about my best teachers, not only did I know they cared for me, but they also made me care for the subject matter in a deeper sense that I wanted to learn about it, not that I felt I had to.  Even the stuff that I memorized and aced as a kid (100% on my “Parts of a Microscope” test!), I probably could tell you nothing about now, unless I cared about them.
    How do you get your students to care about what you are teaching, and maybe, more importantly, what if they never do?  Will they ever really learn if they don’t ever really care?  Not care about learning, but care about what we are teaching.  The notion of having people care is not only about how we teach, but how we lead.


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