Why? One simple word can make all the difference. Whether planning a learning experience for young people or adults, “Why?” is an important place to start. Today during the early Saturday morning educational Twitter chat I like to participate in, #SatChat, someone shared the following video, that made me start thinking about that little word: “why?” Take a few minutes to watch:
Watching the video and reflecting a few minutes on it, reminded me of a conversation I’d had a day or two ago with colleague where I shared some thoughts I had after watching a TED Talk given by Simon Sinek, the author of “Start with Why.” A few months back, I jotted a little “note-to-self” to look up “Sinek’s Golden Circle,” probably after reading about it on a blog or seeing it mentioned in a webinar. I can’t even recall today where my first exposure to it was, but I can tell you that it motivated me enough to write myself a reminder to learn more about it! I ran across my note the other day on one of the many Post-it notes that are on my desk, and I took a little break from work to start my research. I started by Googling the phrase and looking at some of the images that came up. I dug into the concept a bit more and came across the following video of Sinek giving a TED Talk on his ideas. The video is at the bottom of this post; it’s a little longer, but worth the watch. I started thinking of all the applications the idea of “starting with why” has in the field of education, and I began to believe it is an important reminder to us as educators. Children, young adults and especially adult learners we work with need to know the “WHY?” behind what we are teaching them.
Just as important as activating prior knowledge, explicitly pointing out the learning objectives for the lesson, or framing lessons within essential questions, the learners we work with need to know why what we have to say is important. And for us to convey “The Why” to our students, we have to be able to articulate “The Why” ourselves. So I challenge you today to add a step to your lesson planning or professional development planning that focuses on “The Why” of time you’ll spend with your learners. What is “The Why?” How will you communicate “The Why?” See how it changes your planning process and delivery of your lesson or professional development!