What do we hear when we give our 18-year-old students a chance to express their views and concerns regarding their education?  I listened to five students recently and not surprisingly they have a deep desire to experience a more purposeful and engaging school experience.  They like their school, their teachers, and their friends.  But, intuitively they recognize how we must dig deeper, and to systemically create a more profound experience that is not rooted in mandates, standardization and the like.

 

If anyone has ever read Horace’s Compromise one would not be surprised that both teachers and students lament the reality that the factory-like approach to education is still alive and well in 2011.  How refreshing it was to hear students asking to have the focus of their learning tie back to a larger philosophical question.  They seek relevance that can be evaluated and assessed in terms of project-based learning, where content is connected and not disjointed by bells that artificially separate the mathematical, scientific and literary elements of a given task.

 

Students are hungry to experience a process of learning that leaves them nourished, and not feeling less than satiated as a result of moving through a system designed for the mid 20th Century.  Listening to our students I came away with a renewed sense of the purpose behind our desire to reformat our system of education moving forward in the 21st Century.

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