This is certainly an exciting time in education. We have achieved much, we know more, the learning environment is potentially richer than ever before. Yet, as I continue to read about key educational strategies and issues, I note one disconnect.
Student engagement! It is talked about, and it should be. It is the focus of teachers and curriculum planning, and it should be. What bothers me is that it is often talked about in isolation.
In an earlier blog post where I weighed in on a 20th/21st century learning discussion I ended my comments with the following statement:
Our journey is all about the learner. Creating the best possible learning environment covers the ‘whole playing field’ – curriculum design, building design, teacher training, assessment, changing with the times, best use of technology and steady, reflective incremental improvement. After all, we are life long learners!
I will stick by this. Teachers, mentors, Boards of Education should play a critical role in engaging students. Why do we talk about this in isolation of parent/guardian roles and responsibilities, and personal ownership.
I had the wonderful experience of having my children study music in the Suzuki string method. Dr. Suzuki designed his entire curriculum, ‘talent education’ in his terms, a clear foundation of student, parent and teacher roles responsibilities were laid out right from the beginning. After finishing 12 years in the program, that foundation is centre of everything that happens. I believe this foundation is one of the keys to the success of the program. In parallel to the education systems, teaching training, resources, curriculum design etc. also play the same key functions. I have great admiration for the work of Dr. Suzuki and all of the wonderful teachers who deliver this excellent music curriculum to students.
Let’s not lose the team aspect of engaged learners in our systems. We must continue to excel in all of the areas that we control in the education systems. Team: students, teachers and parents – fully engaged learning communities.