Sunday, March 6, 2011

Just Learning Stuff

This evening my five year old son, Tanner, was on the phone with his Uncle that lives out of state. They were having their usual, “how are things going” conversation. Tanner told him about his latest hockey game and how annoying his little brother was. The conversation then turned to discussion of Tanner’s school.


Uncle: How is school going?

Tanner: Good.

Uncle: Are you getting all A’s in school?

Tanner: I don’t know what A’s are, I am just learning stuff?

Uncle: A’s mean you are doing good in school.

Tanner: My teacher tells me I am doing good so I think I am.
That small conversation just summed up what I think most of us see as the fault of education. As children we go to school because it if fun and we love learning. We have no concept of grades but only of the activities and great work we are doing. My son comes home every single day and tells me that he loves school and that it is fun.

Education has failed when it ceases to be about the learning and is about percentages or letters. A five year old knows this, why not the people in charge of education?

The notion of grades or the concept of an “A” is beyond him. I hope to keep it that way as long as possible. I am not going to argue about grades being good or bad because there are folks smarter than me engaging in those debates. However, I will argue that education is working when kids don’t know about grades but just know that they are “learning stuff”.
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