Why Are We Asking These Questions

Flickr Image from JISC infoNet

I’m sitting at Starbucks right now, working on “A Gardener’s Approach to Learning,” and I happened to glance at my Tweetdeck for inspiration — and boy! Illinois educator, Greg Noack says,

Why is it that, the more I learn and meditate on HOW kids learn, not what they learn. The less I have in common with other teachers. ((Noack, Greg. Twitter. 19 Dec 2009 08:11. Web. 19 Dec 2009.))

I immediately agreed and was inspired, as I usually am, when someone puts into words (140 characters) something that’s, until that point, been little more than fleeting thought.

But then, it occurred to me that an important and interesting question is, “Why?” Why is Greg and why are so many of us asking the question, “How do our students learn?”  Certainly good teachers do that as an ongoing part of differentiating their classroom learning experiences.  ..and it may simply be because we are talking a lot more and a lot more loudly about our professional reflections.

But if we are asking those questions more today, then why?  Why today?  ..when supposedly the purpose of my university experiences, my degrees, was to teach me how my students learn.

I’d like to suggest just a few possible reasons, and then let you have at it, while I continue my book writing.

  1. We are recognizing that our students will be moving from their formal education into a world that we can hardly imagine.  We are paying a lot more attention — and that’s us learning.  How do I do it better?  How might my students do it better, as a lifestyle rather than just something to do at school.
  2. We are teaching within a rapidly changing information environment, and the technologies that facilitate the information’s flow are advancing — just about every day.  We either learn it or ignore it — and many of us believe that ignoring it is professional malpractice.
  3. And I have to wonder if working, playing, socializing, and dreaming within such a responsive environment literally turns us into a learning species — not that we weren’t before.  But learning, in this kind of information environment, is just about as common as breathing.

Learning is at the core of teaching today — and just about everything else.  So we’re thinking about it more.

What do you think?

Author: David Warlick

David Warlick has been an educator for the past 40+ years. He continues to do some writing, but is mostly seeking his next intersect between play, passion and purpose, dabbling in photography, drone videography and music production.