10 Expectations From Students

Carolyn Cameron, one of the most open and progressive principals I have ever known (she was also my former boss), shared the following video regarding student expectations for school.  The first point was that it was important to build relationships and know students as individuals.  The nine other points are things that I really believe in, but it was great hearing it from a student perspective.

Although this is a video that will bring attention to a book that is being sold, I think that it is a great conversation starter with faculty and students.  Interestingly enough, it was released around the same time the Jeff Bliss video was being shared.  Perhaps a much more positive way to start the conversation not only on what students look for in the classroom, but also may give some thoughts on how to give students this voice and take action based on what they have said.

Student voice is important but it is essential that if we ask them to take the time to share their thoughts, that we also show progress in what they have asked.

17 thoughts on “10 Expectations From Students

  1. Sophie Fenton

    I loved listening to the student voice here … When I think about working with students within my classroom, what immediately springs to mind is a shared conversation! I know that I come into the classroom with a set of knowledge, but my students also come into the classroom with knowledge. I find that I impart knowledge in the process but I also gain knowledge – I don’t presume to know everything but share what I know. I also invite my students to share what they know and, in doing so, I find that the teaching and learning environment becomes an equal participation – a ‘dance’ if you will … sometimes, an intense tango and other times a swooning waltz, often simply a joyous frolic … but always a dance that involves both partners – me and my students. And that ‘dance’ is defined by conversation … usually typified by great enthusiasm and passion for the topic being explored, for the learning taking place. This clip affirmed my absolute belief that students want to be part of the learning process and it is essential that we create an environment that not only enables that, but also fosters it. In such an environmental, all are winners: teachers, students and the community that will inherit erudite and pro-active citizens.

    1. Dany Dias

      Loved how the student neatly packaged the expectations into 10 categories – neat, concise and to the point. I noticed that the expectations targeted stem from quite basic human needs also, and many of them reminded me of Robert Marzano’s research on motivation and engagement, namely the four key elements in his model to optimize student engagement (emotions – relationship; interest – play; importance – relevance; efficacy – opportunities to practice learned skills) (Marzano et al., 2011). I have noticed that when I develop a genuine relationship with each student, they consider me as a trusted partner in their own learning and view themselves not only as capable of achieving a goal, but also that they matter. This plays a huge part in their being engaged or not. Lastly, it is also important to remember that when building relationships with our students, it is OK for us to still be the adult and them the child/teen. As said in the video, teaching is not simply giving instruction, but consists of an intricate web of contributions from multiple sources. As teachers, our orchestrating abilities do come in handy!

  2. Abigail R.

    Well, what students look for in the classroom is important, but there is so much knowledge students don’t even know they want because as students they are still so remote from real life and are not aware of the type of knowledge they will really need once they are out of school. For this reason there should be things in classroom that students don’t necessarily want but old smart people know will sure be useful later in life!

    1. mmebunker

      Abigail,
      I agree that students don’t always know what they want or what they may need later in life. However, I don’t think we can honestly say that we as educators know that either! No one can predict what students’ futures will look like, but students at least have the advantage of knowing themselves and what they love. The more opportunities we give them to discover their passions, talents, and purpose, the better, and that means listening to what they have to say.

      The expectations shared in this video are things that I think any human being would want as part of their education: relationships, choice, application, play, practice… How can they be wrong about wanting to make education relevant? I’m sure you have specific knowledge and skills in mind and I’m not suggesting that whatever they are is not important. However, I do think that by providing students with the expectations outlined in this video, we can give them the skills to figure these things out for themselves.

      Beverley

      1. Brad Wilson

        I do agree with Abigail on this one. As the adults in the equation we do have the function of elders. Because of our expertise in the subject and our life experience we do have some wisdom – or should have – that we can pass on.

        I see a couple of problems with the 10 expectations. # 10 on the list is relationships which I think was well explained and properly valued in the video. Some of the following expectations then look at personalized learning assuming the students are off on different paths and so will not be building relationships unless they have a number of other students and a teacher on the same path. Such an education system would by definition have to have a low student to teacher ratio that simply does not exist and will not exist in my jurisdiction – BC – for the forseeable future. That leaves the false promise of “online lerning” which all too often is a student and a computer screen. No relationship building at all.

        So for these student expectations to be fulfilled we have to have administrators publicly lobby as teachers do for much smaller class sizes. Pretending schools can create the 10 expectations described in a meaningful way is disingenuous.

        Brad

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  5. Steve Ransom

    I, too, think that these 10 expectations are well expressed. However, I question the “student voice” here. Did a student actually make this? With no prompting from a teacher? Call me a sceptic, but it makes it somewhat suspect when it is tied to this YouTube channel sponsored by this website, this book, and the authors of this book. http://www.leavingtolearn.org

    Would like to know more…

  6. Ian H.

    While I like many of the points raised, I do question our continued focus on the usability of knowledge gained in school. It speaks to a utilitarian view of education that is reductionist in its attempt to fit every piece of school into some kind of framework of usefulness for the student’s future. I prefer the liberal arts view, that learning can be an end unto itself, and that we learn not only to do better, but also to be better. Unfortunately, this view of education as primarily being for the learner’s self has fallen by the wayside in the push to commoditize everything about schools. Schools have become focused on STEM (granted to a lesser extent here in Canada), because that is what the “market” demands of our graduates. Do we really need to be shaping the workforce of the future? How about shaping the learners of today? That’s where I appreciated the focus in the video on individualized learning, but as Abigail mentioned above, sometimes there is a difference between knowledge a student wants and knowledge the student needs. There are entire subjects which have very tenuous arguments for utility, but which are good for students’ selves to learn.

  7. Jarrod Lamshed, Adelaide, Australia

    I agree completely with the points made in this video. It’s certainly worth showing to staff as a conversation starter. The feeling of this production to me is more of ‘student reading script’ rather than completely student voice or student created.

    Kids have the ability to make their voice heard if we give them the opportunity. Although their productions may not be quite so polished, they need their authentic voices heard. Below is a student voice video from our class last year.

    Dear Teachers from Jarrod Lamshed on Vimeo.

  8. Thomas Sauer

    at the surface, it’s a great video and it makes you feel good about listening to student voice. but then you begin to think. was that really STUDENT voice? Even if it didn’t link to a book website at the end, it’s obvious that this is NOT the student voice we should be listening to but rather buzzwords that are floating around in the adult-crowded education world. Let’s be honest: what student in 2013 would refer to worksheets as “dittos”? Even Jeff Bliss didn’t call them that. I bet if I called 10 students right now, I would not get those so-called 10 expectations. And they aren’t even bad expectations. They make sense and they would help in changing today’s schools. The problem is, they are what we THINK student’s expect from school today. And just like that we have once again committed the same error that so many educators before us have: instead of actually asking kids and bringing true student voice we do all the thinking for them. Students have real needs, real problems, but together they can think of real solutions that we can’t even imagine yet. Let’s not put words into their heads and their mouths, but rather find out what’s really in there. (The australian video linked above is a great first step.)

  9. Chris

    This is a great video from the view of a current student. At my college, I hear things like this being brought up, especially the importance of choice. Students, myself included, hate paying money to take general classes that the school picks out for them and that they feel they will never use. From my experience, given the choice, they will take the out-there classes because it interests them.

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