Why do we have to learn this? Many students challenge teachers with this question and, for a teacher without the answer, it can be mortifying. In an instant, your authority is undermined and your confidence is shattered.
Don’t get mad, get ready! While we could do without the eye-rolling that frequently accompanies this inquiry, the question itself is perfectly valid. We should ask ourselves before every lesson, Why do my students have to know this? Finding the answer is part of being intentional with one’s instruction—and it’s one of three key imperatives for effective teaching, along with being demanding and being supportive, that are discussed in McREL’s The 12 Touchstones of Good Teaching.
Being intentional means that teachers know and understand why they are doing what they are doing in the classroom to coach their students to deeper understanding and knowledge.