Imagine this scenario: Your and your child are planting pumpkin seeds in the back yard. You’re talking together about how seeds get nourishment from the soil, and grow into pumpkin plants, which then produce pumpkins. Then, your child, bright eyed and energetic says, “It’s just like spiders!”
What would your reaction be?
- A) “No, son. It’s not like spiders. This is how they are different.”
- B) “What the heck are you talking about?”
- C) “Really? How is it like spiders? That sounds interesting!”
- D) “You’re right! It’s just like spiders! Now, let’s focus on planting pumpkin seeds.”
- E) You ignore this comment, and move on to something else.
To me, the answer is so obvious, I could scream. But, I have a pretty good idea that the answer that I think is obvious, it the least likely answer to be used in a classroom, or by a “teacher”.
My suspicions are reinforced by this March 7th article in Education Week. Apparently, they have found a radical new way to “reach” “urban, minority language students”. It’s called, in my own words, “taking them seriously.” Imagine!
What’s even more interesting, is that the teachers in this article received special training in order to understand how to use it. It could revolutionize their classrooms!
Granted, to be fair, there are teachers who use this technique of listening to kids, and taking their ideas seriously. Those teachers understand and respect kids at a core level. It’s also quite hard to do with a classroom of 30 or more. I applaud any teacher that does this on a regular basis. And I bow down to any classroom teacher who can base their entire educational approach on this.
At home, kids can say these kinds of “crazy things” and be taken seriously. It’s actually pretty easy to do when teaching at home. The only thing it requires is that we, as parents, listen. And be brave enough to say, “I want to understand how you see it,” rather than trying to show kids how they are “supposed” to see things. And you know what, we might learn a thing or two from them. Imagine how revolutionary that idea would be in Education Week!