Meaningful Education- Take 1

Reflection (first) Blog: Meaningful Education Needed Now

They say that your children grow up faster than you think and I find that to be very true. As my daughter will be entering public school next year, I have been thinking a lot about what type of school experience I want my daughter to be part of.

I also feel somewhat fortunate to be able to influence this. Not only can I influence this through school choice (happy my daughter will be coming to my school), but also by trying to spread creative and innovative ideas throughout the school and with district colleagues. We are currently trying to continue to add to our makerspace, and expand our school garden- two projects that I think will be great additions.

I also find myself reflecting on my own school experience as a student and have come to the conclusion that I think I just went with the flow pretty much the entire time. The only time I really ever remember being pushed out of my comfort zone was during swim class (because water and I do not get along) and a public speaking class I took. The rest of the time I spent mostly just sitting and listening, a type of education that doesn’t really work for me unless I find the content to be real interesting.

I want my kids to have a different experience. Of course I want them to learn the basics, love to read, etc., etc. etc. but most of all I want the experience to be meaningful. I am excited that the district is starting to put more emphasis on things beyond the traditional subjects and teaching things like mindfulness. The student will decide what is meaningful to them, so we need to make sure and meet them at what they are interested in, not force them the other way.

What’s the ideal school look like?

Tough Question: I think that is different for everyone and that is one good thing about school choice. I would love to hear other’s ideas.

For me, here are some thoughts:

-Lot’s of movement! Students need to move not listen passively as the teacher talks. The teacher should be a facilitator and do most of the teaching in a small group setting. This movement includes plenty of time for students to explore and play.

-The subjects would or could blend together- learning is messy and happens sometimes unexpectedly. It is unfair to cut it off, because reading block starts in 10 minutes.

-Teachers should be trusted and given creative freedoms. I understand the purpose of school wide programs, vertical articulation and so on, but putting more trust into letting teachers do what they do best is needed.

-Focus on 21st Century Skills and being given the tech tools appropriate to help

-Most importantly- meaningful- I feel a good way to do this is through Project Based Learning. Students work to solve real problems, collaborate, get time to reflect, lots of good things.

I realize I am missing a lot when it comes to a perfect school, or even my vision of one, but it is a start. I am happy to attempt to set a good example, try new things (like the blog), and stretch my comfort zone. I am excited by the way education should, could, and eventually will be moving. I am just hopeful that change happens sooner than later so that my kids have a more meaningful educational experience than I did.  Overall, cool stuff to look forward to!

One thought on “Meaningful Education- Take 1”

  1. Ian, my school experience was much the same as you describe! I was a good student, but definitely not a learner. That came much later – through a lot of introspection, reading, exploring, and finally…I found my passion. I agree that PBL is an excellent strategy for learning – when voice and choice are an integral part, process of learning is at least as important as content, and tasks are engaging and authentic – including opportunities for learners to receive authentic feedback. I look forward to reading more posts from you!

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