What is education’s greatest purpose? How is that related to the “what” of teaching?
For many years, I accepted what the state said should be taught. Of course students needed to read, write, do math, know about the constitution. But then I began mothering a deep thinking percussionist who moved to a very different beat. I learned to own his education from the beginning because his fit with the system was awkward, at best.
Through the eyes of a mother: we want them to grow into healthy, engaged and productive adults who wear clean underwear, look good in a suit and smile with their eyes. A solid handshake was also important, my husband would say. You want them to support themselves, but also to have passions and interests that will keep them learning for all of their lifetime.
But then there’s that mandated curriculum. The course offerings are so limited. I want my children to be thinkers. Problem solvers.
What is it that we want for our children?
Howard Gardner has done some thinking about this. He might say that we want our children to be
“the kinds of human beings we want to populate the planet”
- good workers
- good persons
- good citizen
- good players
- good collaborators”
I think that should be education’s throughline:
We are here to help grow the kinds of human beings we want to populate the planet.
Life is both the curriculum and test. We are just here to facilitate the thinking and doing.
For more information, check out Howard Gardner’s book, written with Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi and William Damon: Good Work