Five things students say they want from education

4. Teacher mentors

“A teacher who respects and cares about them, a teacher who engages them in learning rather than constantly ‘telling’ them what they should learn, and a curriculum that explains the ‘what’ and ‘why’ and connects it to their lives.” —Gary S. Mathews, Ph.D., superintendent, Newton County School System, Georgia

3. Innovation

“We do an exit survey with our seniors, and the one comment I hear most often is the teacher is ‘boring.’ Why can’t they make the class interesting? I understand that there are tests, etc., but one could still make the class a welcoming place instead of a dreaded one. The teachers [who] are still using overhead projectors should be run out of town! Are they modeling acceptance of change? Nope, not when they’re stuck in the 70’s.”  —Barbara A. Jimerson, title VII director, Gowanda School District, New York

“Students indicate an ongoing desire to learn—but in more fun, creative ways.” —Tina Kissell, administrator, Student Services, Instructional Design and Innovation Team, Moore County Schools, North Carolina

“As the mom of three girls (8th, 5th, and 3rd grades), the one thing I hear most often is that they are tired of school because it is ‘boring.’ When I ask about what happens in their classrooms, it sounds to be the same types of activities I did in school at their age. And yet, my children’s lives are much different than mine was 30 years ago, with significant changes in technology in every aspect of our lives. I try to engage them in learning activities at home through various websites and online gaming opportunities, though, and they soak it up! So, as a teacher, I see this as a cry from students to really engage them in their own technological language—using those tools they play with at home to teach them while they are at school.” —Joni Templin, Auburn University Montgomery, Center for Government & Public Affairs

Meris Stansbury

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