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Friday, January 3, 2014

Owning our success and failures - What do we aspire to become?

There are paradoxes in education that needs courageous reflection. Some include:

Want students to take ownership of their education, yet student voice in class and school level decision-making is generally limited or is not allowed.

In school and district mission statement there is a statement about developing lifelong learners. Yet structures tend to impedes opportunities for students to retake the work for a better grade which indicates their current level of learning.

During some hall sweeps in one school, any students caught not in their scheduled class (late) gets suspended for the rest of the day, and sometimes for additional days. Instead of being tardy to class, students lose days of instructional time.

Teachers are credited with recognition at awards ceremonies for schools that have demonstrated excellence in student achievement. When schools are low achieving, the burden of responsibility is usually placed on students and parents.

But...
If we build a collegial and collaborative culture involving students and adults...

Everyone gets credited for school success in academics and other areas. When there is low achievement, everyone reflects and collectively explore the problems and develop and design solutions, which everyone owns.

When focus is on keeping students in school to learn, interventions are put in place so that students make up for lost instructional time due to tardies and absences, and they are interviewed to learn the reasons for their habits of lateness so as to improve attendance (professional practices).

A culture of learning is most important, students retake assessments when they have demonstrated understanding or completed a study plan. This results in students truly able to learn at the rate or pace that is appropriate to each learner.

Understanding that students are an educational partner for achievement, their voice in decision making carries significant weight in classroom and building decisions. Where there is voice there is buy-in. Such students build confidence that will carry them beyond their quality experiences in that school...