Our Kids Deserve More than a Canned Education

I was watching the Whitehouse Hangout National Show & Tell on Connected Classrooms again because there was a quote by an SLA student that I needed to grab.

“So, one of the great things about SLA is that we actually learn how to learn. Morgan brought up our core values and definitely that’s a big part of what we do here at SLA but we recognize that we have teachers around us and we also have students who are experts in almost everything that they do and if they aren’t then they know where to go ask to find those questions and it’s not always online where you need to go.

Sometimes it’s going out to the library. Sometimes it’s going to find another person, and what’s really cool is we’ve learned how to be resourceful so that we’re not depending on the technology that we have because sometimes technology can be annoying and sometimes it just doesn’t work and you have to work with people because people came first, technology came second.”


I’ve thought about many aspects of this quote since I heard it. The first was that students learn how to learn. (More on this later) The second is in how she described the process of seeking information. Finally, it was in her affirmation that technology is not the end all to all knowledge but that people are the core to learning. Students who process information in this way aren’t getting slammed with 3 year old textbooks and freshly printed worksheets. They are challenged to actively seek, question and develop their own meanings. This is called learning to learn and every kid deserves this.


My mother talks about her high school education often. I could literally listen to her speak about it all day. Growing up during segregation, my mom attended an all black high school and in my opinion received an education that is worthy of all of my envy. She was constantly told how amazing she was. She was challenged to study and learn. She was prepared for a life of unknowns, even more significant because of the time in which she grew up. To this day, no one can hold a candle to my mom when it comes to public speaking. She learned how to handle herself in such a way that one would think that she’s had years of formal training.


There is something about authentic education in which the whole of one’s self is completely immersed in knowledge. This is not the education that I had and as hard as I’ve tried, it’s not easy leading that charge in a land of insane testing and obnoxious standards. However, our kids deserve it.


I look at SLA’s core values: Inquiry, Research, Collaboration, Presentation and Reflection.

Before there were computers, my mother had instructors that were inadvertently embedding these very ideas. She didn’t have worksheets or even textbooks. She had real world experiences in every aspect of her education and she learned. She learned HOW to learn.


I go to her on this idea because as I consider where our kids can potentially go, I know that if we make a conscious decision that we will develop learning experiences where students learn how to learn, we are more than preparing them for a life beyond our walls.

You can’t get that kind of education from a can.


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