While most members of Radical Nation are probably familiar with Tony Sinanis — Principal of Cantiague Elementary School and the mind behind the Leading Motivated Learners blog — they may be less familiar with Tony’s brilliant son Paul.
Paul is heading to middle school this year and in a recent conversation with his dad, Paul dropped some words of wisdom about schooling:
Paul’s words matter, y’all. They are a tangible reminder that it is OUR fault when kids think school is pointless.
That doesn’t mean that we need to ditch everything in our required curricula. There ARE things that we want every child to learn — and our students may not automatically see the value in that content. Exploring things like the commutative and distributive properties of multiplication or the origins of democracy might seem pretty darn pointless to a middle schooler — but I wouldn’t want kids to graduate without knowing that stuff.
But it DOES mean that we have to do a better job helping students to see the value in the work that we are doing in our classrooms. It ALSO means that we have to do a better job connecting the work that we are doing in our classrooms to the interests and motivations that our kids pursue outside of schools.
The simple truth is that engaging learners means helping students to see the value — to themselves, to their communities, to the world — in every single lesson.
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