I was lucky my mom asked. Not everyone has parents who check in regularly with their kids. A simple question like this is actually quite meaningful. But I digress.
I usually replied, “Okay.”
She pressed on (thanks again mom), “What did you do today?”
I would name a few standard school exercises, “Did some math problems, answered some questions.”
“Did you learn anything interesting? Do you have any tests tomorrow?” she continued.
My reply might have been something like this, “We did chapter 5 in Math and have a quiz in section 3 for Literature.”
Let’s stop the conversation.
Let’s replay the conversation.
What did you learn?
Do you have a test?
WHAT THE HECK WAS WRONG WITH THOSE ANSWERS?
How does one learn Chapter 5? How does one have a test on Section 3?
Learning is a whole lot more than naming the chapters you completed in a book. A test or assessment should be about concepts and ideas, not a section. How disconnected was I from actual learning?
This was —and is— school for most people. Students don’t dive deep into concepts; they aren’t given the chance. Students don’t even realize what they are learning. They go through the motions. One chapter, one section at a time. This type of routine is encourage by standardized test and rote curriculum. Learning is measured not by passion, but by how far one gets in a textbook.
What would have happened if my mom asked, “What did you create today?”
I couldn’t tell you.
I can tell you this is the question we should be asking our children, our students. This should be the expectation. We learn when we create. We learn when we are engaged. We learn when we see that education is more than a chapter in the textbook.
Let’s start a new after school conversation, “What did you create today?”