Sunday, March 15, 2009

Why don't we ask students?

When I taught Brave New World, as a class we would complete a webquest on utopias. I gave them a short synopsis of some that I called the Green Utopia, the Civil Libertarian Utopia, the Religious Utopia, the Communist Utopia, and the Platonic Utopia (which we added to the Technology Utopia). Then, we debated. Students were suddenly very interested in the novel.

Of course, any teacher would see, you cannot do this activity without having the students say what they personally felt was the best way to go.

Then, why don't we ask students about what they would like for education?

There are 5 larger models of school reform out there. There are those advocating for change with a focus on 21st century skills. There are those advocating for change with a focus on more direct instruction and core knowledge. There are those advocating for incremental change with a focus on addressing some of the barriers to the teacher, including class sizes and student poverty. There are those advocating for "data-driven" change and accountability. And, there are those that are advocating for no change at all (the silent majority).

Present these models to students and ask for their input. It is their education.

Does our reluctance to do this signify our lack of trust of students? That they are unable to separate worth from sensational feeling? I don't know. Seems to me like the questions "Why we don't do this?" is a very valid one.

No comments: