Watch People Learn by Dean Shareski

Watch People Learn by Dean Shareski

Mythbusters is just a plain cool show. Sure they often blow stuff up and pursue the ridiculous but beyond any of that the hook for me is they are truly curious, interested learners who document every step and give you the inside look. Grant it, these are highly intelligent scientists and showman but the concept of exploring and proving or disproving common myths is compelling.

A few weeks ago Gardner Campbell quoted Marco Torres' observations about Mythbusters:

"...Now to Mythbusters: Don't watch guys teach you. Watch guys learn. They don't know the answer. We're in the journey together. Now the audience are participants. And we see not only the result but the process (which is the story)"

Don't watch guys teach. Watch guys learn. Even the title of Gardner's post, "It's not about the teaching, it's about the learning", illustrates a recent mantra in many education circles. I work for a district who uses this phrase frequently. It's one however that can easily become cliche if we aren't careful. One of the most important things I do as a teacher is watch my students learn. The power of technology to easily document learning enables me to have insights into their process not easily done without. This also needs to be modeled. That's what the mythbuster guys do better than most. Their passion is palpable. I really don't have much of a scientific background at all but their pursuit of understanding is gripping. Watching them learn always elicits more questions for me and usually inspires me to dig around, look for answers and start conversations.

As teachers we are highly invested in not only our content but our delivery. We've crafted certain strategies and believe they are successful. They might well be but the degree to which our students understand and take hold of that content is the true measure of our efforts. Without venturing into a discussion about assessment, I'm convinced we would do well to spend more time watching students learn. A compelling question, problem or story may be where we begin but it needs to be followed by close observation on how they learn and attack. If these questions are truly compelling, we ourselves may not be certain of the answers and can be participants in the journey as well.

Seems like the basis for a great curriculum.

cc licensed flickr photo shared by kwc