What If We Started With Our Students?
“Nothing about us without us” continues to come up for me most especially in this last year(and I’m unsure of the author). So many decisions made and placed upon others. Adult decisions that have a significant impact on our young people. I often asked myself, “I wonder what ideas our students would have around this?”
We are hearing the phrase “learning loss” quite often these days; everyone has a lens around what and how much learning our students have missed over the last year. The piece I wrestle with is where have we ensured we have the lens of our students in our decision making process?
What if we started with our students and asked them what they have learned and what skills they have gained?
What if we started with our students and asked them to tell us what they have lost?
What if we started with our students and listened to what they need over the summer to support these gaps?
What if we started with our students and designed learning experiences to meet their personalized needs versus continuing to do what we always do and expecting different results?
What if we started with our students to learn what aspects of distance learning, hybrid and in person learning supported their learning and which aspects created barriers?
What if we started with our students; I wonder what we would learn that would transform education and move us away from the century old industrialized model the world around us has left behind.
Full transparency, I’m a mom to five teenagers and a young adult and I forget to do this when it comes to my own kids. I have this tendency to remind them that I’m the old lady whose job it is to see the peripheral; they are teenagers whose brains see the here and now right in front of them. And so, there are decisions I have to make in order to protect them, keep them safe, and help them learn. However, they are very good at reminding me to stop and really listen to them first. The decisions we have been able to make together have had the greatest results and our relationships are better for it also.
I’m not saying it’s always easy. However, easy doesn’t mean right and right isn’t always easy. Our minds have been trained through our experiences that decisions come from the top - position, age, power, privilege - you name it, decisions were made for us, not by us.
So what if we started with our students? How could we change the narrative, the trajectory, and the outcomes?
Attached below our additional resources and readings focused on the value of student voice.