The Skill You Need vs the Stuff You Know

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I've already shared about not knowing what a mandible is. I've said that you don't need to mind the gaps. I've even questioned the purpose of tests. So I wondered this morning: What difference does it make if your child can't finish the sentence, "Mary had a little ____?"

Sure, this is basic stuff. But so are John 3:16, the definitions of "trial," the number of laps that make up a mile (swimming and running), the conversion from Fahrenheit to Celsius, as well as the difference between the Mean, Median, and Mode... to name a few. In fact, libraries are packed with knowledge I haven't learned in my limited time.

So how do we determine "Core Knowledge?" What kinds of things will we decide belong on National Standards? What points of data are we certain everyone should know (and for how long)?

The answers to such questions are as interesting as they are important.

I focus on something else entirely. Rather than think about all the stuff I know, I prefer to focus on a much more important skill: learning. If I enjoy and am able to learn, I'll pick up the stuff I need to know. If I can make connections between the things I'm able to recall, I can build and grow from those lessons. And if I know where to find information and how to extract and hold on it, I can meet the challenges before me.

The stuff you know is important, to be sure, but the ability to learn is ever so much more essential.

Do you have a story of a time you didn't know something "everyone" knows?

 ~Luke Holzmann
Filmmaker, Writer, Empty Nester

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