Students Love to Help, Part I

Students represent the most overlooked resource not only in a typical school, but in most communities at large.

Traditional public education has a remarkable tendency to favor expensive resources, often standardized, along with trendy instructional formats that inevitably cycle out, only to be replaced by some new fashion–usually derivative of something older and always built upon a framework having nothing to do with the students, families, and staff of the schools where learning is supposed to take place.

Teachers and students lie at the heart of learning and growth.  Effective schools function primarily on this relationship.  The best schools capitalize upon a symbiosis between all parties in the interaction.  Meaningful learning happens when every individual in a classroom comes away more enlightened.  Irrespective of grade level and content, true learning happens as a result of proper consideration, as Daniel Tanner asserted, of the nature of the learner, the nature of learning, and social forces.

For all of the trendy emphasis on differentiation, favor always falls on students who adhere to prescribed patterns of cooperation and convenience.  And so, the typical high-school graduate struggles to calculate a fifteen percent gratuity, can offer no meaningful explanation of an independent judiciary, and after two years of classroom Spanish instruction, thanks goodness that bartenders in Cancun speak English.

A brief outline of concepts will telegraph some reflections and revelations to come:

A. Students have an instructional contribution to offer in classrooms.

B. Students have a valuable contribution to offer in daily operations schoolwide.

C. Students are the cure to social ills that threaten the health of their culture.

D. Students are the celebrity draw that can galvanize an entire community.

In short, students represent the most overlooked resource not only in a typical school, but in most communities at large.  So many specifics remain to relate.

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