One of my favourite TEDtalks is from Sir Ken Robinson, who discusses how schools kill creativity. This has been a favourite since he mixes humour with the reality that with the wrong environment, schools can drain children of the creative instincts. While this focus on school children, I couldn't help but connect this with the material that we are learning.
Two ideas he conveyed that hit home for me is that we are preparing our children for a world we cannot currently grasp and the idea that if we are not prepared to be wrong, we will never come up with anything original. The common thread I drew between those points is that if do not teach students to learn and be adaptive, their knowledge will be rooted in whatever book at whatever point in time they happened to read it. I can identify with that, as that is how I learned to learn through some of the courses I took; learn the material well enough to pass the test and get a degree.
In fairness, this was not every class - I can recall a leadership class I was very fond of. Instead of focussing on reciting the human resource theories of the day, we were asked to consider the theories as they related to the leadership style of George Patton. The interesting piece was that we watched the movie as opposed to reviewing history books and had to focus on specific points, such as General Patton slapping someone he thought a coward. I cannot recall anything from my statistics class that semester, but I can recall a vivid discussion on Theory X versus Theory Y managers.
This then leads me to consider how to use classroom time most valuably - I have had the reflection that I need to focus more on the application of the knowledge I wish to impart on my students, as opposed to recapping a chapter. While I despair at the idea of rewriting all my lesson plans, I get excited about the prospect of having my class recalled with the same fondness that I hold for my favourites from my education.