In their book “Leaving to Learn” Elliot Washor and Charles Mojkowski do an outstanding job of capturing what students would like from their schools, and what steps schools should take in 2013 to engage all students in learning. They state that, “We hear often of the “high expectations” schools must have of and for their students, yet we seldom hear of the expectations students have of their schools. Students’ expectations constitute the new “rules of engagement” in the relationship that young people want with their schools. Their expectations, framed as questions, are:
Relationships: Do my teachers and others who might serve as my teachers know about me and my interests and talents?
Relevance: Do I find what the school is teaching relevant to my interests?
Authenticity: Is the learning and work I do regarded as significant outside school by my communities of practice and by experts, family, and employers?
Application: Do I have opportunities to apply what I am learning in real world settings and contexts?
Choice: Do I have real choices about what, when, and how I will learn and demonstrate my competence?
Challenge: Do I feel appropriately challenged in my learning and work?
Play: Do I have opportunities to explore—and to make mistakes and learn from them—without being branded as a failure?
Practice: Do I have opportunities to engage in deep and sustained practice of those skills I need to learn?
Time: Do I have sufficient time to learn at my own pace?
Timing: Can I pursue my learning out of the standard sequence?
These are reasonable expectations, and they make clear that without meeting student expectations there can be extraordinarily high levels of student disengagement and that dropping out may be the ultimate consequence of that disengagement.”
In Worthington our goal is for these questions to be answered in positive ways for each and every student. Our teachers are working hard to build meaningful relationships with all students. They are creating assignments that are relevent, challenging and incorporate authentic tasks. In Worthington we still value fun and work to create co-curricular opportunities that students enjoy.
Student’s should have expectations for their schools and for their learning. We’re working daily to change our practice to meet our students where they are. We’re not there yet in every area, but we’re making progress.