Why Are We HERE?

PROFESSIONAL UNDERSTANDING & THE VICTORIAN TEACHING & LEARNING MODEL

Why are we here? When reading up on the VTLM to drive change in my own educational organisation I came across some pressing questions which challenged the way my business operates.

WHY ARE WE HERE? Is the question that all educators must answer regularly as we scramble to cover curriculum or manage behaviours in the classroom both physical and virtual. What we often need to do is reflect on this question. When we should reflect on this question the most is unfortunately the time when we are less likely!

  • During a heated debate between yourself and a student who does not believe your class is worth participating in and storms out!
  • During the time where you’ve lost the interest of your students mid way through a lesson which took hours of preparation.
  • During the class where a student asks “why are we doing this?” and “how is this relevant to me right now?”

Why are we here? Why do we want to teach children within the confides of the four walls of a classroom? The VTLM preaches a system which promotes connection to community but how often do these opportunities really exist for students?

These are the pressing questions which we all need to consider continuously including, what do we want for our own children and how does it differ from our own opportunities as students?

What do children of the 21st century want for themselves?

And so enters, the age of ‘Agency’. Initiative is a key skill along with critical thinking which allows children the drive to create the conditions surrounding what they learn. The right to challenge what they are being told is ‘fact’ when absolutely nothing is set in stone and can be up for debate. It is our right as people to decide for ourselves the way we spend our time and if children do not feel the immediate relevance of in school learning, the light switch quickly turns OFF.

Our wider community has become quite intolerant of our youth and this is very well conditioned by a system which keeps them neatly tucked away from the hours of 9 – 3:15 pm. This of course fits in well with the working day for the parent who pays for the education, who then watches the child enter 8 hours of schooling, more hours at university and finally the 9 to 5 working day. While this may not be true for all, it is truth for many. We are just not used to seeing and communicating with the world around us on the regular. When was the last time your child was able to spend the day planning and executing their own travels to get to a place where they can research what is of interest to them, use it to devise a program which supports themselves and the community?

There are so many things our ageing workforce hasn’t perfected and so many projects that children present the perfect candidacy for. Perhaps working out a way to turn every space of green into a cultivating space of green to help the community to rely more on themselves for food products? There are plenty of nature strips full of fake grass going around and plenty of children full of optimism and drive to work on these pending community projects.

I have always said the perfect pair is a 6 year old child and a 90 year old, both busting to talk and rarely anyone with the time to listen. Where are the elderly in our children’s learning day?

Probably also asking, why are we here or perhaps more accurately, how did I get here and where would I rather be? Sound familiar?