Monday, March 7, 2016

SOL 4 -- Learners Must A.S.K.

I believe the purpose of education is to provide learners with a set of attitudes, skills and knowledge they need to be life-long learners and educated citizens. Learners are the most successful only when they are provided with a mixture of all three ingredients: Attitude, Skills and Knowledge (ASK). But, lately, I’ve noticed that one of these three ingredients is missing from much of our curriculum.

But, what happens when teachers are no longer needed to be the givers of knowledge. Knowledge has become easily available by a simple Google search.  Comedian Pete Holmes has a brilliantly worded comedy routine about this very topic.  This is perhaps one of my favorite comedy routines. I am constantly reminded of this almost every day:

In my classroom, I always strive to have a classroom where students are not told new knowledge; rather, they discover it. Most of my learning targets in the classroom are skills-based. When I make my learning targets, most start with “I can…” or “Readers always…” only to be followed by a verb, or skill. But, where does teaching attitudes fall into our curriculum? Attitudes are those internal drivers of behavior. Attitudes such as:
  • Integrity 
  • Hard work 
  • High expectations 
  • Commitment 
  • Empathy 
  • Self-confidence 
  • Enthusiasm for learning 
  • Love of reading and writing
I, like all of you, use the current set of learning standards (e.g. Common Core and Ohio Learning Standards for Science/Social Studies) to create the learning targets, which provide a focus for my students’ learning and help them establish their own learning goals. When closely inspecting our standards, one can see that they focus heavily on the SKILLS and KNOWLEDGE parts of learning. This is not enough. If I focus solely on teaching the standards (i.e. skills and knowledge only), then I am robbing my students of a major ingredient in the recipe for learning.  The ATTITUDE and mindset that the learning process is more valuable than just knowing something.


  1. These attitudes and mindsets are so important for our students. Thank you for this post.

  2. These attitudes and mindsets are so important for our students. Thank you for this post.