Mind the Gap

Photo via spin’n’shoot on Flickr

Today has been declared a Day of National Blogging for Real Education Reform. When I think about education reform, I think about the gap between what we say we hope for our students, and the environments that so many US students find themselves in. (I saw the sobering documentary “Race to Nowhere” earlier this week.)

As a college counselor, I consider my primary role to be that of talent scout. My work with young people has led me to an ever-firmer belief that every student has gifts, but that not every school community is well-positioned to help them uncover, activate, and deepen those gifts.

I think every school could benefit from a community-wide conversation about what it is we hope our schools will be for the students they serve. If we believe that we want our students to be engaged, ethical, effective and reflective lifelong learners (hattip to @alfiekohn and @willrichardson), what does that mean for how we expect them to “do” school?

The students who I feel have been best served by my school are those who have been met and seen as the deeply individual human beings they are. There are few gifts that compare with the gift of being known. Learning communities that can adjust to meet individuals where they are (and celebrate them for that!) can be incredibly powerful.

I spend more time thinking and reading about these issues than most people I know, and yet I consider myself to be just barely informed. I am grateful for the opportunity to learn from others, grateful to be working with young people at an exciting time in their lives, and grateful for the space to be a reflective learner myself.

I am looking forward to spending some of my upcoming free time learning from others’ thoughts on this topic. I hope you might do some reading there as well.

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Posted on November 22, 2010, in big picture. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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