The Ideal Real World

After reading George Couros’s blog On the “Real World”, which includes an amazing excerpt from an Alice Keeler post from 2015, I felt inspired. Alice sheds a new light on the ‘real world’ argument often given to or by teachers. George says that “you can use the ‘real world’ as an argument, but not an excuse.” I am going to go one step further here, and say we should use the Real Ideal World as the agent for change.

I am a teacher because I want our students to create a better world, what better way to create a better world than to teach them for that better world. I hope to do this activity with our faculty someday soon, but I’m going to try it here. The two questions I will ask myself – What world do you want your students to live in? How will you teach to prepare them for that world?

What world do I want my students to live in?

I want my students to live in a world where they…

  • know their passions and pursue them
  • have a job that helps others
  • recognize the connections between their work and its impact on the world
  • are connected to their community and the world
  • are kind to those around them
  • know how to find information and view it critically
  • work with their hands
  • care about the environment and are stewards of the earth
  • use technology meaningfully
  • make time for art – singing, dance, painting, sculpture
  • are active citizens – especially in local communities and government
  • to take responsibility for their mistakes and then improve from them

How will I teach to prepare students for this ideal world?

I will:

  • teach them to read critically and for fun; give students choice in their reading and challenge them to question it, to dig deeper into its meaning
  • give them time to create something everyday with their hands
  • connect our learning to the local community – the good and the bad
  • provide time for students to pursue their passions
  • encourage and reward kindness every day
  • allow students to explore technology, to practice using social media
  • learn how our community is connected to the world afar
  • apply math to everyday life; to find and recognize patterns around them
  • give open-ended learning opportunities that allow students to make mistakes and learn from them

My biggest challenge was keeping these lists as short as they are now. If I used these lists, what would my teaching look like tomorrow (Literally, tomorrow)? I wonder what would happen if a school asked the same questions, developed a shared set of goals and focused their teaching on these outcomes. How would our teaching change? How would learning change? How would our world change?

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