Earlier this week, Board President Ron Mitchell and I had the chance to hear from recent Jeffco graduates. I can’t tell you enough how impressed I was with this group of young men and women. Poised, smart, funny, witty, and holding onto big dreams – I was inspired after spending some time with them.
One of the questions we asked them was to tell us about the best (and the worst) learning experiences they could remember as Jeffco students. Their experiences were wide-ranging, but had some common elements. I took note of them and would like to share them with you here.
- Contained a public demonstration (especially public speaking)
- Challenged me
- Could see the value outside of school
- Had a connection to what I’d need to know in a career
- We were doing something real
- Pushed us to think, to question things
- Had an extended project with a demonstration
- The student had voice, got to decide and direct parts of the learning
- Required us to listen and work with others
- No interaction with others
- Fact/recall based learning
- Talked to – being lectured at
- When we had no relationship with the teacher
- When we didn’t have time to really get into it – broken into segments
- When it involved copying and memorization
- When it didn’t challenge us – too simple
- When it focused too much on just what would be tested
So, there you go – from the mouths of those who most recently have graduated from our schools. Really, there are no lightning rods here – we should have known for a long time what kinds of learning people value … and what they don’t.
Of course, this begs the question – what are we going to do to change our learning experiences, and why do we keep doubling down on those things that are the least valuable to our students?
I told the recent graduates that I’d be posting this reflection. We will send this out to all of them, and I’d invite them to also post here on what their takeaways were after hearing from their peers.