Our TEACH Roadtrip team is getting ready to hit the road in a few weeks! These road-trippers are all interested in pursuing paths in education, so we are collaborating with Participant Media’s TEACH Campaign to give them the opportunity to speak with folks working in the world of education. Together, they’ll discover how teaching is changing the world.
While they’re eager to explore different educational models, the team is also passionate about putting their own spin on schooling; seeking out what’s making school more personalized, fun, and engaging. Keep on reading to see what each road-tripper would like to bring to the table:
For me, the number one thing I would change about our school system would be our current form of accountability. Namely, I believe that the United State’s standardized testing does not truly reflect students’ abilities, and doesn’t help schools or teachers achieve holistic, long-lasting learning.
Testing can also be alienating to students who are in low-resource educational settings, and it makes unfair assumptions about student learning styles, imposing a blanket method of measurement that puts some students at a disadvantage. Obviously, there has to be some way of holding schools and teachers accountable for learning, but high stakes standardized testing mechanizes schools and hamstrings the potential of driven, creative teachers.
I would change the student-teacher relationship. I think that teachers are expected to be perfect, objective, and almost inhuman at all times. English teachers have especially tough demands, but all teachers are asked to be creative and engaging without “being themselves” or “letting slip” their opinions in the classroom.
Teachers give their time from 8-5 every weekday and then bring home grading and lesson plan preparation, yet there’s little support or respect for teachers except from other teachers. Teachers are expected to give all their love and passion to students but aren’t supposed to get close to students or to develop equally close relationships with all students—which is impossible. I think re-tooling this model would help with the problem of retaining good teachers and also keeping them motivated. I wish there was more support for teachers and more trust in good teachers.
I would change the rigid one-size-fits-all structure, allowing students the autonomy to arrive at the results in whichever way they wanted. This could include learning via any type of creative outlet. I would love to see a personalized approach encouraged in class, instead of taking a standardized exam, or an exam at all. To prove they’ve learned the material, students could put on a presentation, direct a movie, or communicate in whichever way makes sense to them. Elasticity, creativity, trust, autonomy, respect–these are basic needs human beings deserve in order to genuinely respond, and create a conversation in education, rather than a monologue and resistance. I am very opinionated, I know, but I believe in this 100 percent.
We look forward to seeing how their interviews shape their perspectives on education this summer!
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