I smile when I think about the good work that teachers do to connect their students (and classroom learning) to the outside world. Learning that only lives in a classroom can get a little stale.
I wonder though about the way that we name this kind of learning. Specifically the term “real world problem solving”. At the risk of fixating on semantics , I do think we need to scrap the term.
When we, educators (and administrators, and board staff), start telling kids what a “real world problem” is and isn’t we risk doing 2 things:
1) We don’t build their learning by using their prior knowledge of the world.
2) We devalue their experience of the world. Ours is the real version.
When we connect students’ learning to their world, it becomes even more real.
For that reason, maybe we need to start thinking about how we might “see the world differently” instead of presenting our students with problems that are real.
Here are a couple of examples for your consideration.
How might we see and measure the angles that surround us at school?
How might we conserve more energy at our school?