Worksheets, like lectures have taken a beating in the 21st century education dialogue. A few weeks ago, a hard-working and thoughtful teacher said to me, “But my kids like worksheets.” I do not doubt the veracity of that statement. I do, however, take issue with the implied value because they like it.
Instructional approaches need to be varied and many, diverse, differentiated, interesting, scaffolded, layered, remediated, curiosity invoking. Sometimes a worksheet can be a means to that end. Similarly, so can a lecture or even… *gasp* … a reading out of a textbook. The issue is not that these are instructional tools that are bad, the issue is when these are the only instructional tools being used. Much like McDonald’s, if a kid has a worksheet a week, they will be fine. If McDonald’s is all they ever eat… I think we all know how that turns out.
Let’s think critically about what kind of instructional diet we are feeding our students everyday.