The start of the school year is on the horizon, which often gets hockey parents biting their nails with worry. “How do we juggle our commitment to hockey and school?” There will be homework and projects and tests and practice and games and tournaments to get through for the next nine months.
What makes it even harder is that schools today look nothing like they did when we were there. So that all too common, “That’s not how my teacher wants us to do it,” argument is a daily debate during homework time.
It’s hard for hockey parents because time is limited, and we have places to be and ice time to take advantage of. But, the fact that education is adapting to a technologically driven world isn’t something we can change. Our kids need an education that aligns with the world they will enter–one that is home to jobs that don’t even exist yet.
It’s in every hockey parent’s best interest to gain an understanding of what 21st-century classrooms look like so that we can be an asset to our kids when they need our help.
School is Supposed to be Hard
The best way you can adapt to changing schools is to allow your children to overcome frustrations so that they begin to understand that real learning exists on the other side of a problem.
Think about hockey. Does your skater hit the net every time? No, he misses, and he learns how to adjust his shot so he can. He has a coach who shows him tools, but he has to put it all together. It’s the same in school. Teachers offer tools, but kids have to put them all together.
Consider this when you are comparing your education to your kids. Students have any black and white answer they could ever want in their back pocket–literally. There’s no more memorizing vocabulary terms and spitting them back on a test. It’s pointless. Every person on Earth today can ask Siri, Alexa, or Google if they need a quick fact check. In our time, we had to be our own Siri or Google.
Today, kids have to learn that this vat of information is just a tool for their minds to use to do great things.
Hockey Parents Need to Understand Confidence is Crucial in School
If you want your children to survive in a fast-moving world that values progress and innovation, you need to show them it’s more than knowing. It’s confidence in your thinking on the way there.
One of the biggest side effects of technology is the loss of strong opinions and the ability to see that everything is not black and white. There is quite a bit of gray in the world.
It’s that gray that leads to innovation and progress. Patrick Kane’s Spin-O-Rama is certainly something in the gray, something he saw in his mind and made it happen. Same thing goes in the classroom. It’s OK to have an idea and bring it to fruition.
When many of today’s students manage to get a peek of this gray, they are terrified because Google can’t validate it. Again, it’s these ideas and the confidence to see them through that leads to progress and innovation. Encourage it. Help them understand it’s OK to try and fail. It’s just the first step in success.
Hockey Parents Should Learn About Metacognition
When your kids start complaining and saying that the teacher didn’t teach them, Google metacognition to gather some insight.
Simply put, education today is not only about embracing the beauty in gray, but also understanding what led you to see the gray in the first place.
To practice metacognition, teachers use focus questions. They ask students a broad question that covers the concepts taught in an entire unit of study.
Look at this scenario. We’ve all studied figurative language and learned about simile and metaphor. When we were in school, our teachers would have written an objective for the lesson they taught us about figurative language. It would look something like this. After reading Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Tell Tale Heart,” students will be able to find three examples of figurative language.
Today’s classrooms are all about thinking. So, that same lesson with Poe’s story would have a focus question. It would look something like this. “Why is it important for authors to use figurative language?”
In this scenario, kids still have to find the figurative language, but they have to expand it beyond the one story. They are forced to think in the gray; there’s no right or wrong answer, they have to use evidence from the story to formulate an educated opinion.
This type of thinking is hard. It leads kids to genuinely believe that their teachers are not teaching them because there is no black and white answer.
Kids want teachers to tell them the answer so they can give it back to them on a test. Teachers want students to formulate an opinion or gain some sort of insight and then explain the thinking that led them there.
Again, let’s look at this through a hockey lense. Kids practice a breakout drill or a system over and over again. When the defense learns to stop that breakout or interrupt that system, skaters have to look at the scenario and make a new move. They can’t just do the same old rote black and white thing. They have to apply their learning to a different scenario.
Frustration is the First Step in Learning
Fostering the ability to develop insight takes hockey parents stepping back to let kids discover their convictions. It’s hard for the teachers, too. Passing out answers is much easier and takes a lot less time than pushing kids to find and embrace their ideas.
You can’t email the teacher every time your kids say they don’t understand. More often than not, “I don’t understand,” is code for the answer is not right in front of my face, she’s asking me to think on my own.
Hockey parents, you need to encourage your kids and teach them that there is a beauty in the gray. Don’t validate their complaints about teachers not doing their jobs.
Help them build the confidence to cultivate an opinion and the skills to find reasons to back it. It will prevent them from turning into sheep who listen to the tirades of idiots who rage on Twitter to gain popularity.
Instead, it will give them the backbone to hear the many different sides of an issue so that they can not only formulate an educated opinion, and it will also give them the confidence to act on it.