It's rare for education reformers, policymakers, and funders to listen to those at the heart of education reform work: The students. In fact Ann Curry who hosted Education Nation's first student panel* admitted folks at NBC were a little nervous about putting kids on stage. In their "Voices of a Nation" discussion, young people provided insight into their own experiences with education and what they think needs to be done to ensure that every student receives a world-class education. After the discussion Curry knew these students didn't disappoint. She told viewers, "Students wanted to say something that made a difference to you (adults) and they did. Now adults need to listen."
Here is a video of the student panelists followed by a recap of some of the sentiments they shared.
Below are the sentiments shared by these current and former students during the segment.
- I have to critically think in college, but your tests don't teach me that.
- We learn in different ways at different rates.
- I can't learn from you if you are not willing to connect with me.
- Teaching by the book is not teaching. It's just talking.
- Caring about each student is more important than teaching the class.
- Every young person has a dream. Your job is to help bring us closer to our dreams.
- We need more than teachers. We need life coaches.
- The community should become more involved in schools.
- Even if you don't want to be a teacher, you can offer a student an apprenticeship.
- Us youth love all the new technologies that come out. When you acknowledge this and use technology in your teaching it makes learning much more interesting.
- You should be trained not just in teaching but also in counseling.
- Tell me something good that I'm doing so that I can keep growing in that.
- When you can feel like a family member it helps so much.
- We appreciate when you connect with us in our worlds such as the teacher who provided us with extra help using Xbox and Skype
- Our teachers have too many students to enable them to connect with us in they way we need them to.
- Bring the electives that we are actually interested in back to school. Things like drama, art, cooking, music.
- Education leaders, teachers, funders, and policy makers need to start listening to student voice in all areas including teacher evaluations.
- You need to use tools in the classroom that we use in the real world like Facebook, email, and other tools we use to connect and communicate.
- You need to love a student before you can teach a student.
- We do tests to make teachers look good and the school look good, but we know they don't help us to learn what's important to us.
The students are ready to talk to us. How are we going to make time to listen and incorporate their voices into the policies and decisions that affect them?
- Nnamdi Asomugha, Cornerback - Philadelphia Eagles
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- Ron Daldine - Auburn Hills, MI
- Rayla Gaddy - Detroit, MI
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Lisa Nielsen writes for and speaks to audiences across the globe about learning innovatively and is frequently covered by local and national media for her views on “Passion (not data) Driven Learning,” "Thinking Outside the Ban" to harness the power of technology for learning, and using the power of social media to provide a voice to educators and students. Ms. Nielsen has worked for more than a decade in various capacities to support learning in real and innovative ways that will prepare students for success. In addition to her award-winning blog,The Innovative Educator, Ms. Nielsen’s writing is featured in Huffington Post,EdReformer,Tech & Learning,ISTE Connects,ASCD Wholechild,MindShift, Leading & Learning,The Unplugged Mom, and is the author the bookTeaching Generation Text.