At present opportunities to learn are increasingly accessible and abundant. We educators need to think deeply about what, in all this abundance, is most important for our students to know. It is not enough to follow a curriculum or text—a teacher must teach valuable things. This is the first step in creating “unforgettable” lessons.
Think about the following:
What concepts and mental scripts should my students have at their fingertips? What important questions should they explore?
Visualize a student “graduating” from your class. How will they be different from when they began with you? What new things will they understand? What new things will they be able to do? What really matters?
Here are a few examples of questions I want my students to be able to answer:
• What are my strengths as a creative thinker and learner? What special talents or viewpoints can I bring to solve problems and enhance my life?
• Why is creativity important? What are creative skills that can be practiced?
• What values are important in my life? What motivates me positively?
• How can I manage my emotions to improve my quality of life and relationships?
• How are people different? Why is there strength in diversity? How are people the same? What qualities do we all share as humans?
• How can I contribute most effectively to groups, to my community, to the world?
• What is important to conserve in my world, culture and environment? How can I help create a better tomorrow?
• How can I use my senses to observe, explore and wisely use the resources in the world around me? What lines, colors, textures, shapes, movements, sounds, rhythms, spaces and lights can I find? How can I use them to develop ideas and solve problems?
• What patterns, cycles and systems do I need to understand?
• How can I use traditional and digital media to support my own learning and development? How can I use media as tools for innovation, expression and to deal with change?
Make your own list and put it where you can remember what is really important to learn.