Teaching Authentically – Preparing Our Children for the Future

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Shopping at our local grocery store a few days ago, I ran into this in the aisle.  My husband had told me about the robot in the store so I wasn’t totally shocked.  But it was still rather amazing to see this “guy” wandering around the store (authentic use of personification here).

When I started down the path of using projects/authentic learning to teach, I was very aware of the fact that we were educating children for jobs that don’t exist yet.  Case in point, the person who designed this robot.  But I was also aware, that we were educating children to enter a work force where many jobs that exist today won’t exist in the future.

My husband explained to me that this robot’s job is to make sure there are no spills in the aisles and report immediately if there are any messes that need to be cleaned up.  While this robot doesn’t appear to be able to clean up spills yet, I am sure that the next generation robot will be able to.  So this takes away a responsibility from a human.  Maybe someone is not employed full time to do this job, but as robots take over more and more responsibilities like this, you can bet that human positions will be cut.

What does this mean?  It means that the children we are educating today have to be able to think creatively, think outside the box, be innovative, and be risk takers.  These are the jobs that are going to exist in the future.  Drilling children on facts that they can easily find on their computers or cell phones does not prepare them for the future they will face.  They need to know how to ask good questions, and where to go to find good answers.  Filling in answers on worksheets, doing endless memorization and drilling, giving the one correct response, is not preparing them for this future.

This is why I am passionate about using projects/authentic learning to teach!  And I am now passionate about grocery shopping as I can’t wait to run into this robot again and see him in action.  Gosh, it is tempting to spill something and see what he does! (I won’t ok…but it is tempting!  And I am a bit of a klutz, so if I buy a drink from the coffee shop at the front of the store you can almost guarantee a spill.  Stay tuned…I will let you know what happens…)

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