Please Share My Passion For Education!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

62% is a Scary Statistic!

I have conducted a poll over the past few years in which I asked my classes which Option they would rather have be a reality:

Option A:  They receive an "A" in class, but learn nothing

Option B:  They receive a "C" in class, but learn a LOT

62% of the students have chosen Option A.  The most common responses are that "I need a good grade to help get me into college" and "my parents would be happy".

This is a problem.  My ultimate dream is the day when students work hard in the classroom because they want to learn.....not because they need the "good grade" to get into a college or because they need to keep their parents off of their case.

Why does this problem exist?  Is it because the students do not really care about learning the material we are making them learn?  I actually wouldn't blame them.  It seems that over three-quarters of the facts and content we teach students is irrelevant information that will have no impact on the students' future success.

Is it because of the way we teach it?  I am not sure.  How do you teach it?  How do other teachers in your school teach it?

I am confident that by the end of every year I have changed the culture in my class to some degree.  I feel that I do motivate students to want to learn, but I do not come anywhere near eliminating the problem that exists, in which students are playing the "Game of School" instead of actually trying to learn.

  •  Do your students work for grades or for the learning?
  • What % of the content you teach could you look your students in the eyes and honestly tell them the reason it is important, for their future success, to know this.
  • If your students were not required to attend your class, how many students would actually be there?
  • How much autonomy do you give your students?

I believe that if we start believing in our students more, teaching them to "learn how to learn" rather than the facts that we make them memorize, that you can easily revolutionize your learning.  Give students some choice.  Give students some autonomy.  Stand beside them and help them "change the world" instead of throwing them in the brick box called the classroom and bogging them down with meaningless worksheets and boring lectures.

ComPassion Based Learning, as well as Genius Hour and 20-Time are great ways to start doing this right away.  Treat your students like geniuses and you may just be surprised that they actually are geniuses.

Don't make your students stay average.  Let them thrive!!!


  1. It is a scary statistic, but it is even scarier if we don't do something about it. It is our obligation as educators to work to change this each day with our students. To challenge them to change the world and pursue things they are passionate about. Thanks for writing this Oliver!

  2. I agree that something needs to be done. Each teacher can have a direct individual impact, but hopefully we can all unite to make this "learning" the focus everywhere!

    Thank you for your feedback!

  3. You know I'm with you, Oliver!
    I read the title, andi thought you were talking about Brandon Busteed's talk about student engagement (I mentioned it near the end of this post: ). He mentions a Gallop poll that found that 61% of middle schoolers are engaged in class.... That is another scary statistic! So what do we do? Just as you suggest. Genius Hour / 20% Time, asking students to own their own learning, and don't give grades whenever possible - give valuable, specific FEEDBACK instead. Thanks for the startling statistic to get teachers thinking!

  4. i'm glad that you have pointed this out...but if we talk about this to others, point it out then a chain reaction should be positive outcome - I'm all for this way of working. If it's not in the curriculum it just makes it all the more fun trying to make it fit! Thanks for you hard work, great post and lovely heart. Supporting you from way down under in NZ.

  5. Is the best way talking to other teachers? Sometimes I feel like a fish swimming upstream when students, parents, our schools and our society doesn't see or care about the bigger picture (only the points and grades) We need an education revolution. How can educators have more of a voice when standards are being developed by those with money, and placed upon us without our feedback or input. I'm ready to do the footwork, where do I start (after my own classroom).