Possible Implications of Teaching Content in Isolation

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

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

8 thoughts on “Possible Implications of Teaching Content in Isolation”

  1. I’m in agreement with some of your other commenters; this video inspires me to teach what is really important- the skills that will prepare them for life after school! Testing is important to gauge the quality of the education system, but simply teaching to the test does not inspire authentic thought, brilliance, or inspiration. It’s as if we are programming little robots that do one process at a time. Most of history’s greatest minds were multi-talented. Philosophers were scientists, painters were scientists, and so on. Teaching in an overlap of subjects would be ideal to show interplay between studies, but would require planning and coordination on the part of two or more teachers. And where is that time found? [Rant concluded.] I often tell people to “think solution, not problem,” but the educational system has me stumped!

  2. I enjoyed this and found relevance in the video. I am a new teacher and am incorporating many college level type of testing strategies in my high school class. Unfortunately the kids like multiple choice and True and False only type questions and seemed stumped by essay and short response questions. I am trying to teach them the ability to put something in their own words and not make things harder than they really are.

  3. lol at this video. But on the real, this video is extremely relevant. Even throughout college, students are conditioned to learn information solely for the test. Product, rather than process is greatly emphasized, making it difficult for students to expand their mind and ideas toward topical thinking. Teachers and professors expect students to be prepared for the future, yet we have never directly learned how to pay taxes, succeed in a job interview, or network your way to the top. The education system needs to enhance curricula making it more relatable and worthy of our time.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

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