Did you say Elephants in a classroom?

As I am sure we have all heard before, “Never judge a book by it’s cover,” often times ends up being very true. This week I got assigned to read an article called, 9 Elephants in the (Class)Room That Should “Unsettle” Us.  Interesting title to say the least, but I really had no idea what to expect because we were relating elephants to a classroom?? As I began reading this article I instantly was reeled in to wanting to read more. Once I began reading the title finally made sense and the whole story is the truth of what really happens at schools.

Will Richard, the author of the article, made nine very valid points that related to the topic of what information children are actually retaining from the curriculum. Are students just learning the material for the test then forgetting it? I would say a lot of times that is the truth.  There were two points in particular that stood out to me. The first one was actually the first point he brought up, “We know that most of our students will forget most of the content that they “learn” in school.” Isn’t that the honest hurtful truth. Just from personal experience I know I have forgotten so much information that I have learned in school just because the content didn’t interest me or the teacher acted like they didn’t care. It’s sad that people spend at least 12 years in school and yet not everything they are taught is even retained. If teacher’s would focus more on making their curriculum based on their students interest I think more children would look forward to school and they would also remember the information after being assessed on it.

The second point I found very interesting was, “We know that separating learning into discrete subjects and time blocks is not the best way to prepare out kids for the real world.” Isn’t the main purpose of school to prepare us for the real world?? Yet the biggest part of the school system is the time schedule. I had never really thought about this before but it makes perfect sense. I think in order for us to see the scores go up we need to make the classrooms more like the real world. Teach towards students interests. Make the environment exciting. Teach life lessons. In today’s world we are too set and stone, we need to be willing to change in order to see change.

Personally I would much rather know my students are retaining the information so they can actually use it in the future rather then see the high test scores. High test scores do not always mean that the students truly know the material. Has the school system ever heard of luck or guessing?? Pretty easy to do if it’s not an essay question. I hope that more people read this article and someday, sooner than later, we start to see a change in the way children learn.

Richardson, W. (2016, April 09). 9 Elephants in the (Class)Room That Should. Retrieved April 28, 2017, from https://medium.com/modern-learning/9-elephants-in-the-class-room-that-should-unsettle-us-8335b2cef9aa


16 thoughts on “Did you say Elephants in a classroom?

  1. I’ll be interested to see what happens if we ever find the answers to all of these elephants. Education is so broad and peoples ability to learn is so broad that I think there will always be an issue or (elephants) in classrooms. I hope we find the answers and awareness is the first step but part of this could be the nature of the beast.


    1. Sadly I don’t think I will live to see the day where we have all of the answers but I do hope to see sometime in the near future more changes and answers. Hopefully after this class we are all willing to be educators who want to make a change in the way students learn.


  2. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Bailey! I have really enjoyed reading what you have to say throughout the semester. I would agree that a lot of what I have been taught in all levels of schools has been memorized for the test and then forgotten shortly after. As a preservice teacher, I really dislike the power that test scores hold over this entire system. It affects both students and teachers, and in a negative way more often than not. You are right that if we want to see some changes, we have to be willing to change ourselves. It’s up to us!


  3. I hadn’t thought too much before about the time split in schools, and how you don’t have that in life. Though it makes total sense. There are many different types of jobs out there for people, but school only prepares for a small percentage. It would be awesome to give students more of a choice in what they learn to prepare them for what they may do for a job later on in life without getting to 18 and having to make an uneducated choice based off of a few school classes. Great post!


    1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts Courtney! 🙂 There is so much pressure once you get into high school as to what you are going to do with your life and they make it out to be like you have this time only to know what you are going to do for the rest of your life. If teachers would relate their curriculum to real life jobs maybe children’s careers would spark sooner knowing what more of the options are. This needs to start in elementary not just high school.


  4. You did a great job on this! I agree making our classrooms more like the real world will help students into efficient learners. In math teaching children to count money and change seems pointless, until they are selling an item and need to give change back to the purchaser. Practicing writing checks would be a good lesson to have too (even though that is not allowed at many businesses now). They may need to write a check for their utilities. Reading recipes and understanding what measurements are necessary for a successful meal. All of these things can and should be incorporated into the classrooms. Even if a person isn’t a Home Economics teacher or just a math teacher. All of these things are important and necessary in everyday life. Just introducing students to the basics is better than not at all. Nice job!


    1. Those are such awesome ideas! I actually had a class in middle school where we had to make something, sell it at the school shop, learn how to write checks, and also profit some money that didn’t go back into paying off loans. I learned more from that activity in my math class then I did with anything else because it was hands on and related to real life!


  5. I really enjoyed reading your blog post! I think these points that were made in the article are important for people to see. Making our classrooms related more to the real world will help students learn and understand the material better. Students need to learn the basics of life as well as what is going to help them in the future. I think students would enjoy school a lot more if they were given the choice of what classes they want to take. They could choose classes based on what they thought they would do in the future so that they are more interested in the learning aspect.


    1. Kelsea,
      Choices in the classroom would make a huge difference on student involvement. Just think if all the students chose to learn the math concept by using dominoes instead of pencil and paper how much more involved they would be. If we the educators can relate the information to real life, the odds that the students retain the information is so much higher!


  6. Bailey, Great post! I like how you pointed out that a lot of people, yourself included has forgotten majority of the information they were taught in school because it was unappealing to them. I am also suffer the from the same consequences. As a future educator, we are going to have the hardest job of trying to find ways to motivate students again. How are we going to correct all of the elephants and still follow the standards to keep our jobs? I also agree that seeing students truly understand the information is better than a higher test score.


    1. Mindy,
      The first thing I think we should do in order to make a difference is to make sure we change our teaching styles. Students all learn differently so why not incorporate fun and new ways to learn the curriculum that is required, but in ways that interest the students. Veer away from so many worksheets and let the students actually be hands on or do some discovery instead of giving lectures then giving a test. It’s all about changing up the pace of the classroom.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I like how you said the teachers should focus on what interests the students. What is sad is that the teachers are at the mercy of the curriculum, which tells the students what they “need” to learn to be successful. It is also tough when the teacher has a classroom of 30 students and he or she must attempt to teach based on everybody’s different interests. It is just an impossible task. Our education system needs to change in order for students to want to learn and retain the information being taught, rather than memorizing it for a test and never using it ever again. Great post!


    1. Jacob,
      It does seem like a never ending battler that who knows if the school systems will ever be able to find that happy medium. Hopefully more teachers try to find ways to make the curriculum based on majority of the students interest. Thanks for reading!


  8. You are so right when you say “Personally I would much rather know my students are retaining the information so they can actually use it in the future than see the high test scores. High test scores doesn’t always mean they know the material.” Some of the smartest kids I know are bad test takers, so disappointing when a test score overrules everything else. You had some great points!


    1. It’s stressful and somewhat of a downer knowing that students like me who are bad test takers are almost always set up for a fail. Hopefully new ways to assess children will become more popular then your everyday paper and pencil tests.


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