“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you’ve imagined.”
Henry David Thoreau
Each child is a one-of-a-kind individual who needs a safe and stimulating learning environment. This environment must encourage their passions, interests, risk-taking, and collaboration. There are several elements that a learning environment must have to be successful:
- Immediate access to services that meet the physical, social, emotional and mental health needs of students.
- Teachers that cultivate strong relationships with students.
- Teachers that learn with the student and model the learning process.
- Student interests and passions are integral to the design of their learning experiences.
- Culturally responsive classroom: Global respect for all things and all people.
- The embedded use of technology to transform the learning experience.
The teacher’s role is to model, facilitate, and design relevant learning. Students need the opportunity to discover “real world” challenges for themselves and practice skills in authentic situations. Students need opportunities to take ownership of their learning. The teacher plays a critical role in actively involving their students in the learning process.
Perhaps the single most important thing we do in public education is to instill a love of learning for every student we serve; I believe this is the teacher’s most important role. Public education is still the best chance our kids have of learning how to become lifelong learners that pursue their passions in life. The world needs adaptable, radical learners, and our job in public education is to show kids how to learn so they can prepare themselves for whatever their futures may bring.
I believe that the purpose of school has three key elements:
- Civic Development: Responsible citizen (digital citizenship too); contributor; public service.
- Emotional Development: Growth mindset; lifelong learner; self-discipline.
- Academic Development: Literacy; problem solver; innovation.