Monday, March 7, 2011

Learning Happens in the Classroom?

If you are reading this blog, chances are you have been trained as an educator or closely associate with educators. (However, this is clearly an assumption). As you go through teacher training, you learn how to create a safe environment that encourages students to perform to their full potential and constantly learn, right?

But let me ask you, how often did you take a class that taught you to facilitate learning OUTSIDE the walls of your classroom?

I went to an incredible university that trained me well for my career, but I can't recall any mention of how to impact my students' lives once they left my classroom. Let me inform you: outside of the classroom is where I have watched my students learn in ways I could never have taught them inside my classroom.

For example, I've been participating in S.O.S. (Snowboard Outreach Society) for the past two weekends. Although I come home covered in bruises and more exhausted than I have been in recent history, I have the incredible opportunity to watch my students learn lessons on courage, integrity, discipline and perseverance that they may not have learned from reading a novel. I have seen kids frustrated to tears continue to try something that is very difficult. They keep pushing hour after hour to challenge themselves and learn that they are capable of far more than they thought they were.

Or where was the class that taught us the incredible value of coaching a sport? I learned as much from the girls I coached as I could have possibly taught them. They kept me laughing and feeling so alive I couldn't wait to slap that volleyball after school. They brought my favorite sport back to life for me and I have continued to play ever since. They learned to trust one another, to work together and that they could overcome anything.

If I really wanted to go off on a tangent I would question why our students are evaluated purely by what they do in the classroom when so much learning happens outside of it. Feel free to answer that question below as well. However, what I really want to ask is why don't we put much value on the learning outside the 4 walls of the square we call our classroom?

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