Recently Oliver Schinkten asked the question, What is the purpose of school? (Read more provocative questions at #QinEd)
I would love to hear some answers to this question. @JoyKirr @gallit_z @PaulSolarz @RobynThiessen @mrsdkrebs #QinEd pic.twitter.com/1dOZkBD0qH
— Oliver Schinkten (@schink10) July 9, 2015
My first thought was that was a very big question. I believe the purpose of school is to save our democracy. It’s a frightening thought to consider what America, and other countries, would be like without school. I believe in public education, even with all its problems that will be fixed. I believe our country needs school in order to save itself.
On a more down-to-earth level of school purpose, I liked the idea of communication Joy Kirr shared in this blog post when she answered Oliver’s question.
Certainly communication is the paramount goal of English language learner instruction. I am teaching in a bilingual school in the Kingdom of Bahrain; this year I’m moving up to second grade after 1.5 years in kindergarten. On a day-to-day basis, my goal is much like Joy’s, to use the English language in all its facets to communicate with my English language learners. In addition, I want them to grow in their ability to communicate in English, as well as their native Arabic.
I teach them about what research says about their growing brains when they are learning multiple languages. (Some of them actually speak three or four languages.) I teach them about how they get smarter when they have to struggle to learn something. (SIDEBAR: Join us on 6 August 2015 as we discuss more about using #mindset in the classroom.)
Of course, the reason for all of my teaching is a bigger life lesson. My purpose is for them to be not only lifelong learners, but creative innovators, collaborators, and confident world-improvers. What could be a better gift for today’s world than these bilingual innovators from Bahrain using what they’ve learned to make the world a better place? That’s my ultimate purpose in teaching English to second graders.