Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Voice


The sketchy memories that I have of my elementary days don’t include my voice. They don’t include me evaluating my learning and setting goals. They don’t include open and constructive discussion of strategies with adults to help me improve. They include report card comments such as “Requires improvement” and “Good effort”. The vague meaning of those comments and the mood of my parents when they came home from a parent-teacher night were important for me because they directly correlated to my happiness in the form of play time or punishment.  

Flash forward.
We have recently completed our Student-Led Learning Reviews.
Educational paradigms are and should be changing.
Our students know this. Do their parents?

I hope the elementary school memories of my students last longer and are more vivid than mine. I hope they remember their active involvement in preparing for their review, in directing their parents through a variety of centers; where they could talk openly and frankly about how they are working to reach their learning goals established earlier in the school year. I hope they see the feedback I have provided them over the school year as being constructive and designed to promote their success. I hope they don’t see this process as a way of reaping an external reward but instead a way of taking more ownership over their learning and directing themselves as independent and responsible learners. I hope they see complexity in their learning journeys. I hope they realize they have a voice.

2 comments:

  1. Well said, DJ! I know many of the parents of our students experienced the 'no voice' model of education and so that is all they know. I hope they are listening to the empowered voices of their children - in these the change will come.

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  2. Well said DJ. I think it is important to focus on these types of larger pedagogical shifts than the technology. Suer technology allows us to give our kids a voice and connect these voices to each other, their parents and others, but there must be a pedagogical shift in how we view learning first.

    Nice job of laying that out. My elementary memories are ok, it is in MS that I lost interest in school learning.

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