“Each time a teacher tells a student that what they care about the most, what makes them curious and passionate outside of school, does not belong In the classroom, that teacher also delivers another message: What teachers care about and what is mandated by educational standards have little or nothing to do with learners’ activities once the school bell rings.” (Jenkins, 2012)

This quote was particularly jarring as it made me think back to the moments when I have confiscated items or stopped students from talking about video games or tv shows. I think it is natural for an educator to remove distractions so students can focus on their work. I have never considered how our actions may unknowingly send the message that what we teach in school has nothing to do with real life experiences. When writing all about books during our non-fiction unit, I instructed students to stay away from Pokemon Go and Minecraft. I feared that they would be too distracted by the topic and made this decision intending to ensure they wouldn’t get too carried away with content and forget about structure. Now I am beginning to see how this would have been a great opportunity to make a connection between educational standards and real life. I am reminded of an educator’s responsibility to create opportunities for real-life connections, which will increase engagement and motivation.

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3 thoughts on “Educational Standards and Real Life

  1. Great post Melissa!!! It was wonderful to read that you realized that games, TV shows, things that interest your students should be incorporated or allowed in their learning. The way kids/students learn these days is by engaging in their learning, making connections, and learning about what they love which usually involves something they can interact with! The way instructors teach should match or help to develop the way kids are learning and not just sticking to the same old lecture-based if you like it or if you don’t method. Every subject can be made interesting but to get students attention you must be creative and find out what motivates and interests them and connect that with what you teach in engaging ways. I use the word interactive/engaging because kids/students cannot sit still, they need to be doing something, and this only helps teachers focus on finding ways to tap into that energy and use it to teach the material! Have you started teaching in a different way after you realized this? Or is it difficult to implement?

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  2. Love the Jenkins quote, it can be hard to find the line where real life and school should meet. I want to promote a healthy online relationship in my classroom, but I don’t know how to monitor, encourage, and give warnings all at once. Is it possible to set rules for online conduct and just trust your students to follow them? Should you put up blocks? How do you think you can find the balance?

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  3. I think how Thomas & Brown talk about using play as a form of learning, so too we can incorporate some lessons about play into our own classrooms. For some reason, our students love to play games; why can’t we – and why don’t we – integrate that into our teaching? What you’re getting at is really the heart of our teaching – what are we teaching our students, and why? Who gets to make the decisions about what students experience? As teachers it constantly feels like we have to balance what we know is ‘good’ for our students with what our students really want – involving their interests like Minecraft and Pokemon Go can be done in some way, though making it non-distracting and academic in some way is where good pedagogy and lesson planning comes in.

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