We’re big on student voice at Noble Impact. Students are the key constituents in the education system, so it only makes sense to include them in the conversation about their education. Right? Well, that’s not always the case. Students are often on the receiving end of the “expectations” conversation.
As most schools around the nation wrap up for summer, I’d urge teachers and school leaders to think about student voice and how they can collect and meet the expectations that their students have of their education. Rather than schools setting expectations for student behavior, achievements, and proficiency, why don’t we all take a step back and make sure that our students’ expectations are truly being heard and met.
This week, I was reminded of the “10 Expectations” list produced by Big Picture Learning, a network of schools that was established in 1995 with the sole mission of putting students directly at the center of their own learning. This list consists of 10 expectations it believes all students should have of their schools. By my gauge, it’s certainly plausible that every student deserves and should have access to an engaging learning environment marked by these expectations.
If you’re looking for a dose of inspiration on what a student-centered learning approach looks like, watch Big Picture Learning’s “10 Expectations” video below. I’ve also included a transcript of the 10 expectations for easy future reading.
The “10 Expectations” that students should have of their schools, as outlined in the above Big Picture Learning video, include:
- Relationships. Am I just another face in the classroom, a test score? Or do my teachers know about me and my interests and talents? Do the teachers help me form relationships with peers and adults who might serve as models and coaches?
- Relevance. Is it just a series of hoops to jump? Or is the work relevant to my interests? Do my teachers help me understand how my learning contributes to my community and to the world?
- Time. Am I expected to learn at a constant pace decided by the teacher, or can I learn at my own pace? Is there time for learning to be deep as well as broad?
- Timing. Do all students have to learn things in the same sequence, or can I learn things in an order that fits my learning style or interests?
- Play. Is there always pressure to perform? Or do I have opportunities to explore and make mistakes and learn from them, without being branded as a failure? Do I have opportunities to tinker and make guesses?
- Practice. Do we learn something and then immediately move on to the next skill? Or can we engage in deep and sustained practice of those skills we need to learn?
- Choice. Am I just following the same path as every student? Or do I have real choices about what, when, and how I will learn and demonstrate my abilities?
- Authenticity. Is my work just a series of diddos? Or is the learning and work I do considered significant outside of school by experts, family, and employers?
Does the community recognize the value of my work?
- Challenge. Is it just about completing assignments? Or do I feel appropriately challenged? Am I addressing high and meaningful standards of excellence?
- Application. Is my learning all theoretical? Or do I have opportunities to apply what I’m learning in real world settings?
Does your school incorporate student voice and expectations? If so, share your methods for student inclusion in the comments below.