Possible Implications of Teaching Content in Isolation

Clif Mims —  2013/01/26 — 5 Comments

I encourage you to resist the temptation to dismiss this video as silly, as soapbox-ing, or not worth your time. Instead, watch the video in its entirety and reflect on its message.



I think the video sheds light on (and makes light of) some important issues in the classroom. I don’t agree that the Common Core is “the” answer. I’m not one to think a single approach is ever the best course of action. However, this video has engaged me in worthwhile reflection about learning, curriculum, preparing students for post-graduation, and more. I hope this prompts reflection for you, too.

I’d enjoy receiving your thoughts. I invite you to share them in the comments section of this post.

Related Resources

5 Questions about the Common Core by Yong Zhao

Through the Core – An Instructional Leader’s Journey through the Common Core by Robyn C. Trowbridge

ASCD and Common Core State Standards Resources


Hat tip to Anna Clifford for bringing this video and the Through the Core blog to my attention.


Image Source: http://fergusonvalues.com

Clif Mims

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Clif Mims is a Christian, husband, father, teacher, cancer warrior, and fan of the Mississippi State Bulldogs and Memphis Grizzlies.

5 responses to Possible Implications of Teaching Content in Isolation

  1. Hilarie Dahlhauser 2014/02/23 at 9:33 AM

    I couldn’t help but laugh during this video, and not just because of the text-to-speech voices. This is the danger of teaching to the test and not educating the student. We are generating students that only know how to operate inside of controlled academic circumstances, and cannot understand how to apply their skills to the real world.

    I especially like the ‘Think Pair Share’ bit, they encourage that a lot in all my trainings. I do think it is a good classroom strategy, however. We just need to be very careful to explain that these are just that, strategies for the *classroom*. One of the TEM indicators that I always find helpful when planning my lessons is ‘students can apply material to real-world situations’. There is a real danger of missing this point when teaching foreign language. Students will approach the material as a subject to be studied rather than a way to communicate with real live humans, so I have to be very careful about pointing out exactly how they can use these grammar or vocabulary items with other human beings.

    I think this video does a good job of reminding teachers that we need to make the material we teach relevant to students in such a way that it can be applied to real world scenarios.

  2. Sam O’Bar 2014/02/26 at 2:59 PM

    Obviously this video may be a bit over-the-top, but the message is relevant. I think that one of the goals of education is to teach students to learn how to think critically. One way that teachers can do this is to teach them how to apply what they are learning to everyday life. If students only learn to apply it in the classroom, then they get little value out of the education.

  3. Kathleen Waters 2015/02/21 at 9:19 PM

    Although I was amused by the video, I got the thrust of the intended point. Life is not a series of multiple choice questions. It could, however, be described as a series of word problems.

    I took a 15-year break from teaching from 1992 to 2007 in order to start a family. My kids started school and I noticed questionable school/system policies. When I got back into the classroom I found that the students were not used to being challenged and neither were the parents (not public school either). Things had changed. I had the same high expectations but it seems that the schools no longer did. When I first reviewed the CCSS for high school math I just wondered why these weren’t the current standards. It turns out the biggest difference is in the testing. And this may address the issue in the video. It is unfortunate that it has taken the Common Core movement to force all schools to challenge their students and to have higher expectations.

  4. Drew Prescott 2015/06/24 at 12:23 PM

    While the text to speech is certainly humorous, the content is certainly valid. I particularly agree with the sentiment on cross subject learning. Students cannot learn in a vacuum, and should be taught to link learning and concepts between subjects in the classroom. You cannot expect to function in the workplace if you cannot combine and use concepts from separate disciplines. A scientist must also be fluent in mathematics and solid writing skills, for example. This is a excellent example of why, as teachers, we should be be promoting cross discipline learning at every opportunity in the classroom.

  5. Ashley Davis 2015/06/24 at 1:25 PM

    This is a very relevant video. As others mentioned before me, it does exaggerate for the sake of making the point clear. However, the issue does exist in a very big way! Even in my own high school education, I don’t feel that I was challenged to make critical decisions. It was a skill that was difficult to pick up in my undergrad years and that I am still struggling to hone myself! Teaching to the test, and not encouraging original response and interdisciplinary activity is an obstacle that educators need to overcome.

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