My teachers . . . like they help me to become something. Like not what they want to become, but like they see what you’re like able to be and they just make it so much bigger. Like if you think you can be something in math & science, they’ll push you to be an engineer. They like just push you to your limits all the time, and if you can go past your limits, they’ll just keep on pushing you. And like it’s not even like too much pushing. They just get you to where you need to be for the future. Like for college I think I’ll be ready. I’m nervous for the process, but . . . I don’t know. I’m excited. Like my school makes me want to do, like, more than what I think I can do. —Arielle, 16
PROVIDENCE, RI — How do young people really experience their own learning? It’s easy for educators to make assumptions—but often we can find more authentic answers by listening closely to what students say.
That’s what sparked WKCD’s new “Just Listen” series of video clips, in which high school students speak directly to viewers about teaching and learning. Averaging one minute in length, they convey kids’ thinking in a way that’s easy to share and talk about with others.
Too often, the general public perceives adolescents as apathetic and even anti-school, taking little or no interest in their own education. These videos create a different picture: they reveal that kids care about learning and appreciate adult guidance.
In fact, what young people say they want for themselves aligns closely with what we say we want for them: stimulating classes; good relationships with their teachers; success in high school, college, and beyond. Students also articulate the need for differentiated instruction, appropriate learning challenges, and careful practice—topics that educators discuss and debate all the time.
With support from MetLife Foundation, we’re sharing these short videos as widely as possible, in hopes that these and other student voices might help shape the public perception of youth and the national dialogue about education.
Over 200 of these Just Listen clips appear on the Just Listen channel on YouTube. Look on the right-hand side of the screen for playlists dedicated to specific themes: The Teacher-Student Relationship, Becoming Adult, Just-Right Learning Challenges, and many more. (If you want to get a new playlist by email once a week, click here and our Fires in the Mind blog will make that happen!)
We encourage you to share these glimpses of student thinking with colleagues and friends. If you’d like suggestions on how to use them to prompt collaborative discussions, just drop us a line at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Click on the links below to read one of our monthly postings.
Made possible by MetLife Foundation
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“There’s a radical—and wonderful—new idea here… that all children could and should be inventors of their own theories, critics of other people’s ideas, analyzers of evidence, and makers of their own personal marks on the world.”
– Deborah Meier, educator