In “Foundation Design“, Donald Coduto writes that “the most important thing is to keep the most important thing the most important thing.” At least in this case, what’s true for foundation engineering is also true in educational contexts.
What is the most important way for our learners to grow during their limited time with us? Have we communicated that to our learners? Did they have a voice in determining what is the most important thing? Are we taking intentional steps to measure what we believe is the most important growth or learning that for our students right now?
In The Feynman Lectures on Physics, Richard Feynman poses an interesting question:
If, in some cataclysm, all of scientific knowledge were to be destroyed, and only one sentence passed on to the next generations of creatures, what statement would contain the most information in the fewest words?
Perhaps the education equivalent of Feynman’s question would be:
If our students only remembered one thing from our class, what one thing would be the most important for them to remember?
Each learner brings us a potentially different most important thing. The most important thing for each learner might even change during our time with them. What steps are we taking to keep up with changes in our learners to keep them (and ourselves) focused on the most important thing?