One of the greatest difficulties I face as an educator is determining student knowledge. Sure, they might have opinions, very, very strong opinions, but they seem to lack the ability to back them up with any kind of specific evidence. It’s frustrating. They are certain that by repeating their argument with varied vocabulary that their logic is infallible. I am convinced that they are without original thought, unaware or even worse unconcerned with current events and that the fate of this country is danger.*
As much as it pains me to say this, both perspectives are flawed. Professional writers repeat themselves all the time and we laud them. The difference is that they usually have some data, prior knowledge, or anecdote to back them up. Everyone struggles with originality. Adults, hopefully, have had greater exposure to “professional models” and are more patient with revision. As for current events, how much did you understand “globally” between the ages of 14-18? I’m fairly confident I spent most of my time listening to The Cranberries and driving to the Dairy Queen. While both were important to my development, there is very little use for either as valuable evidence in a timed persuasive piece of writing.
We spend much of our time as educators trying to determine how to get our students to be aware of local, national, and global issues. We want them to have evidence to use in their writing, to have empathy for others, to understand their own country. It isn’t easy.
This week’s focus is on one publication: Good. From infographics to videos, from articles to projects this website/magazine is one of several that we will be profiling in the next month. It is a valuable resource for classroom use that can be used to challenge students and build knowledge. Good, with its far ranging projects and topics, is one of many resources we hope to add to your arsenal in the coming weeks because it always necessary to have a war chest.
*It is in the moment when I speak these words aloud that I know I have become a truly old person. A really, really crotchety old person.