Thursday, March 18, 2010
Listening to Students
Since the start of this semester, students in my 9th grade West Civ class have been publishing their own blogzine.
The blog is open to the public and the authors and editors take great pride in their work. They've made mistakes along the way and have humbly corrected them, and they've come up against criticism along the way and have admirable engaged with it in debate.
In short: they've learned.
And so have I.
Today, we published a piece by two students. It's a look at how students learn best today and what kind of teaching proved most effective in the past. Mind you, this isn't written by a teacher or an ed school grad. It's just two 15 year-olds thinking about what works for them and taking a look at how folks who were in school in the 60s and 70s had it both differently and similarly. The students talk with a man who in an all-white school in the 1960's encounters his favorite teacher in an African-American woman. They talk to a woman who describes her experience in school and who feels like she missed out on a lot on account of the way the teachers taught. The kids themselves talk about the things that have engaged them; and they candidly describe the sort of teaching that has bored them to death.
It's not a completely polished piece. These kids are busy 9th graders, after all. But it's an honest piece. And it's the kind of piece that we as teachers should be reading closely. There's a lot there between the lines.
Read it for yourself, and please comment. The students would like to listen to what you have to say too.