Obvious Truths We Shouldn’t Be Ingnoring Series (Part 2)

By Christopher Zoukis

This is the second blog post in the ‘Obvious Truths We Shouldn’t Be Ignoring Series.’ This series is based upon eight “Obvious Truths” presented by Alfie Kohn in his “Ten Obvious Truths That We Shouldn’t Be Ignoring,” published in the September 2011 issue of The Education Digest.

“Just knowing a lot of facts doesn’t mean you’re smart.”

As with the first post in this series, the fact that useless memorization is ineffective means that we – as educators – need to focus upon our students’ overall understanding, not specific memorized facts. This is because a student can be filled with facts, yet be lost when it comes to connecting the facts and finding “inventive and persuasive ways” of solving problems.

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Acknowledging the Pain and Anger

There are students who try to get kicked out of class. It reminds me of foster children who know exactly what they need to do to get kicked out of a foster home. They figure it’s going to happen anyway, so they might as well get it over with. Some probably don’t believe they can pass the GED Test, or are too lazy to try.  If they can get kicked out by “mean Ms. Chamberlin”, then they can blame me instead of themselves.

These guys, especially the younger ones, will get really angry and rude. They are often very intelligent, but they’ll do whatever they can to get thrown out.  So, knowing that, I visit with them, let them know I’m aware of their plan (even if they don’t realize what they’re doing), and usually I can get them to decide to stay and try.

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