We Can Climb Mountains

Learning is a monumental task. When I think of all the knowledge in our world it is mind boggling. How can we ever break it down to manageable bite-sized pieces for kids to grasp?  I think one reason the standards schools require are never-ending is because knowledge is always increasing.  For many kids, school is like climbing a mountain.  It is arduous at best, impossible at its worst. They are not equipped to make the climb.  Either they do not have the proper equipment, they do not know the techniques, or they are not fit enough to make the journey up.

In reality, they need a guide to climb beside them and to show them the way.  Teachers used to be those guides.  They could take the hand of a student and pull them up.  They could show them where to step and how to use the equipment in conjunction with their abilities.  They could teach students about climbing different types of mountains, each requiring a different skill set. There was a freedom to meet each child where they were and take them to the next level based on their needs.  Now, however, the expectation is different.  It is not as much guiding as it is instructing and there is a huge difference between the two.

Guiding takes into consideration the whole child. A good guide knows that every person who climbs a mountain brings differing abilities.  Some are fit, but do not have the knowledge of how to climb.  Others know what they need, but their abilities are not strong enough.  Still others emotionally cannot handle the intensity of such a climb, yet they are experts on what gear is needed.  A guide assesses all of these climbers and finds a way to use the strengths and weaknesses to get the whole group to the top of the mountain.

On the other hand, instructors simply instruct.  They tell climbers how to climb, but never actually show them how do it.  They bring up pictures of people climbing mountains.  They show them gear and demonstrate what it is used for.  A few of their climbers may attempt to get to the top, and the instructors cheer them on from their position at the bottom.  They do not climb themselves.  They are too busy instructing to do so.  Plus, they have some climbers who are not fit enough and they cannot leave them behind, so they stay put.

If knowledge is a mountain and children are the climbers, we who are guides need to take some things into consideration. The ability of each child to access the knowledge.  The emotional intelligence of the children we lead.  The developmental stage of the child.  The physical abilities. The way each child learns and the way their mind works.  The background knowledge they have or have not acquired.  The level of support from their family system.  All of these things must be reflected upon. All of these things are crucial to climbing a mountain of learning.  Our current educational system does not fully allow the time to assess these different areas for each child.  It demands that teachers no longer be guides, but become only instructors. The frustrations you hear voiced by teachers are from those that prefer to be guides and are being forced to become something they are not.  In the meantime, children are sitting at the bottom of the mountain watching a few attempt the climb.  Occasionally, some who are not equipped take a shot, but the result is predictable.  They do not succeed, and in some cases they fall to the bottom vowing to never try the climb again…if they survive the fall.

Children need guides, because they are made up of many moving parts.  Emotions, bodies, minds, spirits, personalities…all of these parts have to be developed in order for them to be successful in their climb to acquire knowledge. A guide knows this.  A guide allows for this.  A guide gives them tools and knowledge they need to get to the top of their mountain.  M&M Educational Solutions provides guides to help students get to the top of the mountain.   

Want to know more?