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Monday, August 8, 2011

What Students Need Today

If you were a student in today's classroom - what would you want?

Here are the five things that eSchool News Readers identified as most important from the students in their classes...

5. Interactive Technology
4. Teacher Mentors
3. Innovation
2. Choice
1. Real World Application and Relevancy

It's actually a fairly sound list. It covers the fact that students don't just want technology in the building and being used by their teachers - they want 'interactive technology' that guarantees and warrants their input and participation. Students are constantly bombarded by media coverage and sit as a passive audience member much of the time. School should be the place where they are given the chance to develop their critical thinking skills, technological prowess and their capacity to be innovators and digital 'artists.'

Students continue to recognize the centrality and critical role that a caring teacher plays. Teachers that act as a mentor to students guide them in decision-making and explain both choice and consequence. Those of us who are invested in the lives of these children - not just their grades and curriculum progress - we are the very thing needed by these impressionable and vulnerable young global citizens.

Classrooms hold so much potential for choice and real-world application. Think about it. Here is a room full of students who have very little real world experience, and yet, so much opportunity for creativity and innovation. Far from shackled by the constraints of an adult life - these kids must be given the latitude to find their strengths and needs in a safe place where learning is expected. They should be exposed to the choices and environments that breed brilliance and consolidate caring.

Our role, as teachers, is to prepare students for their lives by giving them the skills to succeed independently as responsible and caring global citizens. How could this happen if all we see is reporting dates and unit tests? Schools are incredible places where life has stood back and waited until a time when students are thrust upon it and all its challenges. We, teachers, are charged with the duty (in concert with parents) to build a child that will succeed. Our most important failure is only in failing to recognize this.

Give them the surveys. Listen to their concerns. Answer them honestly. Be that mentor.

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