The key theme for me, that came through the ulearn conference was about relevance. We need to ensure that what we are teaching has meaning; has a point for our students.
For many years (many) educators have taught things ‘just-in-case’ it is in a test or examination. However these things that are taught often have little meaning on their own.
Lane Clark, in her keynote, said two very important things:
Are we teaching for their future, or our past?
Teachers often bring in relevance at the end of a topic, when it’s finished.
We need to make the learning relevant from the start!
Lane pointed out that as adults we go into a project/research knowing the relevance – why we want to research it; what is the point. But for some reason, teachers often hold off with the relevance of a topic to the very end.
Why do we do this? Is it for control? I don’t know the answer, but I know that I’ve been guilty of doing it!
Relevant learning could include real-life or authentic learning. Immersing students in a real-life situation where questions can be generated and problems solved. This is not simply placing learning within a context, but actually placing the students in real-life learning situations.
I’ll leave you with this:
Is the teaching and learning that occurs in your class relevant to your students? Is the teaching and learning relevant to today and the future?