Holistic Education

Sure, sure, holistic ed.  I’ve heard this phrase once or twice before, and so have you (check the brochure of any boarding school).  Practically speaking, how do we do it?

I teach kids math.  As a math teacher I strive to teach kids to translate reality into math and back, and to give them little tools like factoring, graphing, and logarithms with which to do it.  As an adult, and as a member of society, my responsibility is greater.  I must also teach:

  • Responsibility
  • Respect
  • Curiosity
  • Investigative skills
  • Teamwork skills / awareness of society
  • Confidence (to be comfortable with a lack of knowledge and with mistakes)

These things are more important than math.  My students spend most of their waking hours working in school or for school, and so it is vital for me to spend time intentionally teaching these things.  Whatever other pressures I have – getting them to transform graphs by 3rd quarter, getting certain test scores out of them, making sure they are ready for the next class – all of those pressures must be viewed from the perspective that my students have more important things to learn.

Now, I love math.  I think math is also important.  Luckily, it turns out that math is a great medium through which to teach these things, and in the links on this page I hope you can find practical ways to teach these things while hitting your curriculum targets.

So far all of the links are to my own writing, but if you’ve written something or found something somewhere else on the internet that’s relevant, I’d love to link to it from here.

This writing helps me be a better teacher and a better adult.  Thanks for reading!

4 thoughts on “Holistic Education”

  1. Shawn Cornally (who is also writing SBG software btw) includes investigation standards in his physics SBG – but not in his math class(?). I’m considering launching the year with 3 things we should always be doing (having fun, being a team, getting really good) – if we’re not doing any one at any point we stop and figure out why. Will it fade into mush within the first week?

    1. It will fade to mush without some concrete techniques for specifying a conversation about “why isn’t this fun right now?” or “how come we’re not getting better?” Good luck!

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