Provocation from Seth Godin

I love this short posting by Seth Godin, master of the short and sweet!

This provocation is  particularly poignant for teachers. I often hear teachers saying “I can’t catch up” and listing vast quantities of things they are trying to get done each day. Some of these things are self-inflicted, of course. Some of us are sadly deficient in the art of saying “no” – and it is particularly hard to say “no” to kids. Some of us are just so interested in everything that we get involved in loads of little projects that eat away at our time and fill our inboxes.

However, there is a bigger and rather disturbing issue at play here. We often find ourselves trying to teach too many things at the same time. In the end, ultimately, we teach more stuff with less depth than less stuff with more depth. That’s a bit sad isn’t it?

So, when that student you speak to next week shocks you by saying things like “I can’t remember learning that” or “I don’t think we’ve done that before” it probably isn’t their fault. At the time, they were probably grappling with a vast quantity of “stuff” that teachers were frantically rushing through with them… just because they have to. Or, is it just because they think they have to?




  1. Cristina

    Hi Sam,

    I also read Seth’s post and favored it on Twitter. It stroke a chord somehow.
    *There is a loose link also to your previous post…TIME and our wrong understanding of it as teachers.*

    I will always remember a short statement made at a PYP workshop: MORE is LESS. That stayed with me to this day and when I plan my lessons I try to plan as little as possible – not less nor more. Einstein himself said “Make things as simple as possible but not simpler..”
    I hope I am getting better at it.

    • Mr. Sam

      There is so much to be said for keeping things simple and doing just a few things in depth rather than too many things with no depth.

      Planning can get that way – we end up planning way too much and not being honest about the constraints that limit us, mainly time and energy!

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