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Should we teach our kids to be teachers? – edu|FOCUS
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Should we teach our kids to be teachers?

The Philadelphia area is experiencing a nor’easter (winter storm) for the next few days. My daughter is bummed that she won’t see much snow out of this storm if any because it’s bringing warmer air aloft than usual storms like this bring, and ocean temperatures aren’t quite cold enough yet – but she’s 13, she doesn’t understand all that which prompts her to ask the ubiquitous question “why?”. We got into a little discussion about it; she wondered why we wouldn’t see any snow even though it’s 33 degrees outside and we often see snow at that temperature around here. I explained what I could and we looked up information online together and spent over 30 minutes on the topic. But the time we spent made me wonder…

“Why don’t parents ask their kids “why?” more often? Should we teach our kids to be teachers?”

It’s an interesting thought – because, due to a variety of factors, school has become that brick building where kids learn facts and figures. They memorize dates and names, read books that give formulas and provide procedures, and as a result the vast majority of our kids come out of high school knowing when something happened but not necessarily understanding the mechanics or the minutiae. We tend to let college fill in the blanks (because there are no standardized tests for which collegiate professors are held accountable), and sometimes they do – if you spend enough money. What does that equation make for? A future generation that will be much more apathetic to the status quo than the previous generation. They will struggle to teach their children to ask why, and the sense of apathy will continue to grow and grow.

My daughter and I later has a discussion about Ebola and whether or not it’s a good idea to cure it. Instead of her asking why, I asked her why she thought Ebola was such a threat compared to other viruses out there. It was interesting to hear her response…she said “let me research it and get back to you”. I was stunned. When we talked about it after she had her facts, she gave a salient and very well-supported argument about why an Ebola vaccine could result in problems for the next generation should the disease mutate in the wild. She was basically teaching me; she even told me a thing or two I didn’t know about Ebola which was exciting for me as a father. My child was teaching me something. Perhaps we should all endeavor to ask our kids “why?” from time-to-time.

As stakeholders, I’m interested to hear what you think. Share your thoughts…

Endre Walls
No Comments
  • Mahja
    Reply December 13, 2014 at 7:32 pm

    The Internet is a powerful tool if used correctly. Asking why and encouraging students to respond with facts makes for a more informed society. It also stimulates positive interaction and healthy
    exchanges of information…remember Debate Clubs? Asking why also helps apply collected information into significant situations to enhance understanding…remember Science Projects?

  • Fuzziness
    Reply December 16, 2014 at 9:18 pm

    I totally agree Mahja – today it is so much easier for kids to find the information they are looking for so it’s a good idea to get parents to challenge their own kids and encourage them to do actual research. I think that prepares them for college too where research might be part of almost every class.

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