May 28, 2020

Some Negative Concepts That Get in the Way of Learning


I’m not exactly sure what the concept of “catching up” means in reference to learning. But it’s been used a lot lately when describing the needs of young leaners as a result of COVID19. 


And I’m not exactly sure what the concept of “being behind” means in reference to learning. But it too has been used many times when expressing concerns about education and the virus. 

Behind what? Catch-up to want? Or, to whom?

I suspect these phrases are in reference to grade level curriculum, the beginning of a new school year or preparation for test taking.

One thing I know for sure is that these phrases and the concepts behind them present a negative way of thinking about learning. They do not inspire a child to read more or better or to see a reason to dig in and improve his/her math skills. The concepts are mainly useful for keeping a system of education in order. They don’t help students learn better and they don’t help teachers teach better. 

What if we threw out thinking like “He’s so behind” and “She really needs to catch -up” and substituted thinking like --- “When I engage young learners (really engage them), present them with reasons to learn meaningful things and give them opportunities to use what they’ve learned, I’m pretty sure they will make progress! Wouldn’t this kind of thinking give better directions to kids about learning and to teachers about teaching?

Everyone looses skills and forgets information they do not use. But this doesn’t put them behind --- or mean they need to catch up. They just need to keep on learning. And teachers need to keep on presenting opportunities and support for this learning.

So I say don’t look behind, and don’t run to catch up; just keep on learning --- and you’ll always be ahead in my book!