Anything you see or do is interpreted through your frame of reference. As a Pittsburgh Steelers fan, there are teams I don’t like at all and others I might have a more benevolent attitude toward that others may not like. After all, we all have preferences.
The way we look at most things has a great deal to do with our experiences. The same is true of school. We tend to approach the idea of school in the same ways we experienced school as children. If we struggled with some aspect, socially or academically, we are not entirely surprised when our children experience the same challenges. If we loved school and everything about it, we may be disheartened to learn our children are not having the same experience. It can be challenging to entertain ideas that differ from our own experiences.
School 2.0 is very different from school as it existed even 10 years ago. Not only are there obvious shifts in technology and STEAM education; there continue to be changes in how core subjects are taught and approached by students. Math has been labeled “new math” for more than 20 years now, and it has had several iterations during that time. The social and emotional growth of students takes a priority in the best school environments, as we recognize the need for children to feel safe and part of a community in order to learn in the best ways possible. Grammar may be taught through writing rather than drilled as parts of speech as it was when many of us were in school. Time marches on, and just as the way we purchase items (online, as opposed to in stores) has shifted, so has educational practice.
If our frame of reference reflected only the ways in which our world existed when we were children, we would be left behind. Sure, it’s possible that we could get someone to pump our gas and pay cash for most items rather than use some type of card, or we might drive to various stores to compare prices, but would we? We shift the ways in which we interact with the world. We learn. We bring in new approaches and adopt them as our own. Our frame of reference changes and so does school. Our children’s frame of reference when it comes to school differs from ours, no matter our age. They are building their definition of school and learning. Our work is to get out of their way so they can do it and to lend a helping hand as needed. We no longer ask children to sit still and learn. We expect them to be actively involved in the pursuit of their knowledge. Times change, and we can learn from our children as they encounter their world. And as we do, our own frame of reference may shift as well… though I sure will never be a Baltimore Ravens fan!