Student Echo Chambers

Yesterday I wrote about breaking out of my echo chamber, so of course my thoughts then turned to my students. Are our students operating in echo chambers and should this be something we worry about?

Well yes, I believe this is something to be concerned about and here’s why. Deeper understanding is developed through:

  • encountering multiple perspectives
  • confronting cognitive dissonance
  • empathising with situations different to our own

If students are constantly interacting with people with similar opinions to themselves, how are they going to do any of the above? Continue reading

What If schools really did involve parents as much as possible?

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This tweet from Pete Hall prompted this post for Question Quest.

  My current position at Hobsonville Point Secondary School sees me having more contact with parents than I have done at previous schools. I email parents of my Learning Hub regularly giving an overview of what their son/daughter and I have discussed in learning conferences. We meet for IEMs, parent information evenings and exhibitions of student projects.

I feel, however, there is so much more we can do to really reach the point of being partners in the students learning.

My aims next term are to:
– include parents regularly in the learning happening in modules
– test the prototype of our curriculum tracking tool with parents to see if it meets their needs before we develop it further
– investigate how parent voice can be included in the development of future modules. Currently we have learning area and student voice, the obvious next step is seeing what parents see as being part of the next term’s concept.

Maybe it’s also time to revisit the parent skills database collected at start of year to see if parents could be used as partnership connections in our learning!

Surely there is a lot to gain by truly involving parents in the learning!

What if the Ministry of Education and teachers actually collaborated for the benefit of students?

This to me just makes sense but it hardly ever happens. All of us in the education system should be in this to benefit student learning.

I hear teachers regularly bagging Ministry decisions (or the equivalent administration in other countries) yet when I speak with Ministry staff many really do hold the same vision and values that we teachers do. They unfortunately are there to do the bidding of whoever is in power as Minister at the time.

If the political parties could get out of the way and let teacers and Ministry staff work together I am absolutely certain we would see some innovations take hold to benefit student learning across the system.

What do you think we could achieve together?

Or am I living in a dream world here? But that’s ok because this post is Day 11 of my Question Quest.