Revolutionary Educational Secret Revealed: Taking Kids Seriously

938809_pumpkins_seed.jpgImagine 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!


5 Responses to “Revolutionary Educational Secret Revealed: Taking Kids Seriously”

  1. Heather Young Says:

    When I was teaching in public schools–over 10 years ago I would get in trouble because I would take the kids seriously and spend to much time going off on their tangents–which was why I loved teaching special ed where that was okay. The biggest problem is lack of time to go off on tangents, large classrooms where it is impossible to get all the kids actively interested and discussing one topic, and specific curriculum which MUST be taught through regardless.

    Now that I home school/un-school/whatever school my kids I can let them run with their thoughts and work things out. Does it mean they cut teachable moments short? Absolutely. Does it mean they sometimes spend days on specific interests? Absolutely. Are they learning? Absolutely.

  2. suburbancorrespondent Says:

    I’m still waiting to hear how it is like spiders…

  3. Anna Says:

    While the best answer is obvious, I am more likely to answer “B”.

  4. sunniemom Says:

    I can’t help it- my eyes roll into the back of my head when I read stuff about how educators are trying to find the Golden Ticket to teaching various subjects. I was also reading Education Week, but latched on to the article about the elusive qualities of an effective math teacher.

    If the experts didn’t make things sound so mysterious and complicated, the average Joe wouldn’t think he needed the ‘experts’, would he?

  5. momlovesbeingathome Says:

    Haha! I read the article and my first thought was. “Well, duh!” 😀 Thanks for sharing that!

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