Teachers As Leaders In The Curriculum

By: Kerry Beck

Can teachers use curriculum to train your children as future pillars of the community? What other ways can you develop your children to become leaders in the future? The first thing to do is to change your own education paradigm.

"What is your education paradigm?"

Most of you attended a public or private school. Those schools are like a factory where your kids start in kindergarten progressing to first grade, much like a conveyor-belt system. Everybody learns the same thing at each grade level or should I say each station on the conveyor-belt. Your children are told what to read, believe and think. Even if classics are introduced, it still makes no difference. The classic approach in a conveyor belt model still makes your kids think about what they've learned at school, but not to think beyond that.

Too often, teachers lecture and "force-feed" information to their students. Please know I do not believe lectures are bad; they have a place. But too often, teachers lecture, telling their students what to think about the readings. Later on, tests are given to determine if the student knows what the teacher thinks about the readings, not what the students discover about the readings. John Gatto says it well.

After you fall into the habit of accepting what other people tell you to think, you lose the power to think for yourself. John Taylor Gatto, A Different Teacher, 2002

If you are used to being spoon-fed by a teacher, you become reliant on someone else. So, you have a hard time solving your own problems. To become a leader who can solve their own problems and lead others, certain changes must be made in the way your children are taught.

Do you see education as teachers having textbooks for every subject out there? If you do, then you are gearing your kids to become followers, not leaders. Everybody thinks that people don't think enough, so they depend on the books to teach them. Just by depending on the author's conclusions, your children become only good in following; they "learn what to think" kind of people.

Ponder for a moment. Textbooks give students questions to answer. If the student can answer the chosen questions on a test, he can move on to the next piece of information. Textbooks do not encourage students to think outside of the answers in the teacher's manual. This model has provided our society with highly trained, but poorly educated graduates.

Leadership education takes a different approach to curriculum. One of the essential elements of leadership education is teaching how to think. I don't think your children should complete their education and not know how to think on their own. Shifting your educational model from "what to think" to "how to think" can be a major change in your life. Below are some practical ways to set a foundation for this type of education by starting with yourself.

One lifestyle change when teaching your children "how to think" is that it unifies the family into one whole. You, the parent, at first take time to be involved in learning and the development process. It's not just about handing over to your children all the textbooks. It's true they learn something with textbooks, but these books can't teach them "how to think" for themselves.

To begin your own education as a teacher or parent, start by reading one classic. Choose a classic that interests you. If you're not sure what classic to read, consult a young adult classics list. After you finish your first classic book, read another one. Repeat this until you have read four or five classics. You are off to the start of a fine education for yourself.

As your children see their parents studying and learning, they begin to have a different idea of what education is all about. You will be excited about what you are learning and want to share it with your own children.

After reading four or five classics, get another one to introduce the element of writing. While reading this classic, you should start a reading journal. Put your thoughts on paper about what you've read. Be sure to share it with someone so it becomes a lesson well learned.

On to your own children! When starting with your kids, read aloud a classic together. The first one should be for enjoyment purposes only. If they are not used to it at first, its better to read several before going to the journal making and discussion part.If you think they are ready, request them to write in their special journal after each reading. Next, start a discussion about what your children wrote.

Francis Bacon said, "Reading maketh a full man, conference a ready man, and writing an exact man." Reading, writing and discussing is foundational to developing students who think for themselves. If you want your children to be leaders, they must think on their own and classics are the best place to start.

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Kerry Beck has been featured in magazines and podcasts and would like you to discover the superb leadership education homeschool curriculum by giving you a free report, " What Is Leadership In Education "?

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