My sister sent me a blog article this week that told the story of a teacher who shadowed a couple of high school students for a day.
She didn't just observe, she DID EVERYTHING they did. Attended class, took notes and even a couple of tests.
She begins by sharing her epiphany;
"I have made a terrible mistake."
And proceeds to share three take aways from her very short attempt to do what she had been asking her students to do for 14 years.
Take away #1 - Students sit waaay too much, and sitting is exhuastiiiiiinnnnngggg.
Take away #2 - High school 'learning' is a passive experience where students spend 90% of their time listening to teachers talk.
Take away #3 - Students feel a bit like a nuisance - teacher frustration makes students feel like an unworthy burden.
Now, I want to commend the principal that suggested she try 'being' a student for a couple of days. And I want to commend her genuine empathy and willingness to be accountable.
Obviously it generated an awareness and a commitment to redesign the learning process.
The observation project was designed to answer the wrong question;
"What is it like to be a high school student, and how can we 'do' high school better?"
My challenge to her, and yes she is getting a link to this post, is that she shadow some high school students later in life; like in the work place, at the doctor's office, in the kitchen with their children, in the car with their spouse, at the soccer field, at the mall, at the gym, at the grocery store, at the bank.
Our education claims to exist to 'prepare our children for the real world'.
So let's go see what the REAL WORLD ADULT CHALLENGES ARE, and design high school for THAT.
With regards to preparing children for success in life; making adjustments to time sitting, participation, and attitudes toward students is like rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.
Too little, too late.
Do you really want your children to be as unprepared as you were or to have to continually struggle to break your habits and self limitations?
If you love your children, don't subject them to the same meat grinder you went through and expect a different result.
The article I am referring to can be found here by the way.