Teaching with the Next Generation
Science Standards

Posted by Francis Vigeant on Oct 19, 2016

Why Does School, Our School, My Classroom… Exist?

Start with Why

 

 

Simon Sinek's 2011 book Start with Why explores how great leaders inspire others to take action. As a teacher, you are a leader who can inspire not only students but other professionals to take action as well, as long as you understand your why.

 

 


When you think about designing instruction, there's a very important team element at play. Let's explore this idea by talking about the book Start with Why by Simon Sinek, in which the author discusses how great leaders inspire everyone to take action. As a teacher, you're the leader of your class. You need to inspire your children to take action, to get involved as scientists and engineers in your class, to actually engage in problem solving, and to engage in answering questions. As a principal, superintendent, team leader, or teacher leader, you need to start with why in order to motivate your team to take action.

The first question is why school, your school, and your classroom exist. The answer has to do with values or core beliefs that unite your team.

Why has to do with your values. The reason why we have class has nothing to do with remembering facts under these new standards. It has to do with being able to be scientists and engineers, to actually engage in creating, evaluating and analyzing. That's how your curriculum, your classroom, and your instruction need to be designed.

We're not talking about just finding the right rote resources to use. There are different kinds of resources out there—textbooks, television programs, museums, etc cetera—but while students can get a foundational grasp of material through these, they do not actually learn the skills necessary to become scientists and engineers. These are all backward-looking. Why we have these new standards has to do with developing an ability in students to create, evaluate, and analyze and be able to engage in developing technology and answering questions, not merely being consumers.

You have to think about that from a student's perspective. Why are we doing this? Why do we have science class? It's so we can actually be scientists and engineers, so we can take what we know, develop it, use it, learn skills, and participate in answering our own questions and solving our own problems.

Why school as a concept, our schools in particular and our classrooms exist is a matter of great importance to designing classrooms that teach HOT (higher order thinking) skills and successfully challenge students.

As teachers, we need to ask ourselves why science curriculum even exists, why our school exists, and why our classroom exists. If you ask those questions to your team, they're going to say all kinds of things, such as the answers you see in the images above. What's important is to figure out why we do what we do.

The answer is that we are teachers for reasons bigger than ourselves: to develop our community, to break generational poverty, to develop mutual respect and thinking and reasoning skills, to help students grow, and to transform their thinking and their knowledge and their ability into something greater as a result of their class time during science hour. We do it so we can challenge students' existing skills and help them grow as a result.

Designing for a Growth Mindset ebook

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