I was recently listening to a radio talk show and the host and guest were talking about education, specifically about the train wreck coming to a public school near you known as Common Core, but in the discussion the nature of explanation came up. The discussion centered on the way we ought to introduce information to young minds as they proceed through their educational career, the age-old method of teaching that our culture of relativistic educators continue to move away from.
I’m terrible with names, but great with ideas, the ideas which this person articulated really struck a cord as he articulated how teaching was once done with great success, and questioning the attitude of those who want to “fix what was never broken”. He pointed out that education used to center on 3 explanatory points: what, how, and why. These three points of education operated on how a child’s mind learns and sorts information.
On average, this person said, from age 2 through 9, children are focusing on the world and what it consists of, so education should focus on informing specific areas, math, language, and basic science facts.
From 10 to 13, he continued, the what begins to transition to how, more intensity is given to the structure of math operations, language structure, and scientific exploration.
From 14 to graduation, how shifts to why, focusing on critical thinking, exploratory elements, and practical application.
Every child is different, but this structure of education makes sense in the greater context of education as a rule because it allows children to be identified for educational issues (gifted or prone to difficulty) and according to the learning style of the child.
As I look into issues with the Common Core curriculum, especially as my youngest son’s school district prepares to institute it next year, and with issues that are arising in those districts which have already implemented it or are refusing to, I have to wonder, how our children will be affected by it.