Definition of School

A student came to me begging not to do the Flipped Classroom in the 4th marking period.  After going back and forth over why, the only real reason we came up with was that procrastination had taken over and now she was thoroughly stressed out.  I explained that the assignment sheets I give outlines exactly how she could manage when to do each assignment over the course of the unit so if she sticks to the approximate schedule she should be fine.  Her response is what really frightened me.  She said

“I want you to tell me what to do each day and what to learn.  Isn’t that the definition of school?”
Really?  REALLY?!  Is that what we are teaching students?  A social studies teacher-colleague of mine used to tell his students to check their rights at the door.  When did schools post “Check your brain at the door”?  
I think we need to change the definition of school.
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2 thoughts on “Definition of School

  1. Crystal Kirch

    Wow. Isn't that sad that many of my students would say the exact same thing. They have been indoctrinated and trained for the last 10+ years of their life to come in and be passive receivers on content. How are we preparing them for real life if that is what they get out of our classes? I try to be honest with myself and know that most of my students will forget most of the math I teach them – but I hope they won't forget the other lessons they learned; namely, how to learn, think critically, manage their time, persevere, and be successful in whatever they put their mind to.

    The shift in educational mindset is hard enough for us teachers, I can't imagine how hard it is for the students. However, I know that they will benefit from us getting them out of their comfort zones. I really think that is what is at the heart of most of my student complaints – they are uncomfortable with change and being forced to take responsibility for what, when, and how they learn.

    Thanks for the thoughtful post 🙂

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  2. Carolyn Durley

    It is the case of the student wants to “play at school” as they know those rules, but they are not so excited about “playing at learning” with new rules.
    Keep fighting the good fight, baby steps!

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