“We as educators need to reconsider our roles in students’ lives, to think of ourselves as connectors first and content experts second.” –Will Richardson.
This quote resonates with me and fits in to my philosophy on education. This philosophy being that, education is a partnership between students and teachers. In my experience, when a student feels a connection to the content and curriculum they are more likely to b a leader in their own learning and their own education. It is with the help of teachers that students can become independent learners. This is especially evident when doing inquiry based learning. The teacher as a connector is able to answer the everlasting questions from students – “Why do we have to learn this? How will this help me in life?”
I believe that once students can connect what they are learning to their lives, they are more likely to be engaged and committed. In my experience as a student, I was much more interested and invested in a subject when the teacher could make the lesson have a connection to my life or my classmates’ lives. The teacher, as a connector, makes each child’s education personal. Each child brings their own unique perspective to the class, which then allows students to make their own connections to other’s perspectives and then apply it to their own education and life. With these connections, the content that is given then takes on new meaning and is more likely to be retained.
While these connections are very important to the dynamic of the class, it is impossible to connect every aspect of the curriculum to each student. There are times where learning content for the sake of content is necessary and unavoidable.
My philosophy on education can be linked to something that my ELA teacher told me. She told me that the goal of the curriculum was to produce confident and competent English language users. This idea stayed with me and is now how I understand the purpose of curriculum. I understand that the curriculum is intended to teach content to students, however, I personally need to have that connection to the content in order to really feel confident and competent in my understanding of the content. Without the connection, I am able to regurgitate the content given to me for the examination but after that, it will not be remembered or thought of ever again. School is about learning and preparing children for the future ahead of them, simply teaching them to regurgitate content will result in them leaving their formal education with little concrete knowledge of the content they are supposed to understand.