How do you respond to a parent who asks a teacher, “How do parents – or even you – know whether the students are getting the knowledge they need, at a pace that ensures they won’t be in school forever?”. This is to say how might we discern achievement in a world without standardized tests?
The same question to a football coach takes the form of, "How do I know that my son is getting the proper instruction he needs to insure he will be a starter, get a college scholarship, make All Stars (or some other measurable standard)"
I question what the parent meant by “knowledge” or "instruction". As a Christian, my first thought was to turn to the Bible. I know the Bible is clear that the knowledge of God is the most valuable knowledge a human being can possess. (Proverbs 1:7) But it is also clear that simply being aware of God’s existence is not sufficient; the knowledge of God must encompass the deep appreciation for and relationship with Him. (Ecclesiastes 1:17-18)
This biblical principle that knowledge alone is futile would seem to hold true in all we undertake. I like the saying, “Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is knowing not to put it in the fruit salad.” If knowledge is the concern, there is an app for that today. However, what is missing is discernment, problem solving and teamwork which come from wisdom and not an abundance of knowledge.
As a learner driven coach, I want players to seek and achieve wisdom. What I am looking for is the ability to have players define problems and seek plausible solutions. That comes from trying, failing, and getting up to try again. I am looking for evidence of their problem solving via the evolution of their communication skills, teamwork, and most importantly, the ability to solve conflicts peacefully.
I remember my father telling me not to let my education get in the way of my learning. This seemed like a throwaway line at the time but now one to which I often turn. As Jeff Sandefer once said "Education is something you do to someone. As is teaching. Learning is something you choose to do."
My prayer is that my players never let the sport get in the way of obtaining the wisdom which comes from a passion to learn.