We have all heard the prediction, “If you build it, they will come,” well portrayed in the movie “Field of Dreams.”A wonderful little book titled, “Flight Plans,” by Mary Jo Koch, prescribes, “Follow your bliss, but make a flight plan.” Dreams and bliss are wonderful to entertain, yet for many are out of reach because they do not know HOW to build it or HOW to develop a flight plan. My mantra is, “If you teach it, they will learn!”
The “it” in my statement refers to SKILLS – language and learning skills. If we teach students of all ages HOW to learn, they WILL learn the content as an outcome and know strategies for continued success. Curiously, content continues to drive most educational programs to the detriment of millions of learners who CAN learn but lack the tools to do so. When taught WHO they are as learners, and WHAT skills they need in order to understand and integrate the content, these same frustrated learners BUILD confidence and MAKE a flight plan that allows them to soar.
I have been puzzled for years by the disconnect that exists when teachers present content curriculum materials to students without teaching them the skills they need to learn the content. Bright capable learners who can abstract, generalize, visualize and take in so much from their environments simply may not intrinsically have the skills to do what is asked of them in our classrooms. I propose that it is OUR responsibility as educators to assure that EVERY student is able to fulfill dreams and follow his/her bliss by teaching them HOW to do so…..to ignore this responsibility is to devalue tremendous human potential.