Thursday, November 8, 2012

APB for the love of learning

The question is never too far from my heart and lips.  My mind searches for solutions more often than not. However, a few specific events occurred yesterday that again brought the age-old question up yet again.

Where has the love of learning gone?

At faculty meeting, the 11th-12th grade teachers met to have an open discussion regarding best practices and concerns. Overwhelmingly, the teachers felt defeated and exhausted. They desire to teach and build relationships with the students, but the apathy and lack of concern for things academic zap all their energy. While a few teachers and I attempted to suggest ways to deal with these situations, I still left the meeting frustrated. How can educators reignite the fire for learning when it seems to be completely burnt out?

While these thoughts are stirring in my head, I had several conversations with my 7-year-old daughter. We have had a number of discussions this week about voting and she even made up a "voting game" where all family members need to vote on favorite colors, favorite food, etc. She not only listened to my explanation of the voting process, but she practiced it to see what it was like.

Mackenzie lost a tooth last night. Before going to bed, she set her tooth in a spot on her dresser for the tooth fairy. About 15 minutes after we put her to bed, she was at the top of the steps asking how to spell "fairy" so she could write a note to the tooth fairy. When I went to her room later to check it out, there were 12 questions for the tooth fairy to answer including "what do you do with all our teeth?" and "Can you come to my class?". There were 12 spots listed for the answers and the pencil left right next to the note for ease of use. It wasn't enough for the tooth fairy to simply visit. Mackenzie's curiosity and desire to learn allowed her to investigate and she was lucky enough to get answers.

With these situations occurring within 24 hours, they each meshed in my head to create one question: What occurs that the 17-year-old has lost the curiosity that once existed when he/she was 7?

I do not have the answers, but am filled with more questions. Is America's schooling system promoting the downfall of the love of learning by making each student fit in a predetermined box? Do elements like the Common Core aid or deplete the curiosity in our students in all grades? What can teachers do to rekindle that flame that once existed?

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