What most helps young people thrive in a challenging academic environment? Answers from students bear out what research has found: social and emotional factors constitute a crucial underpinning for learning.
In recent WKCD interviews at School of the Future in New York City, middle schoolers gave their own examples of how everyday interactions between students, peers, and adults affected how they learned in the classroom.
Their descriptions reflected some key unspoken questions that adolescents bring with them into a school environment:
NOTE: For years WKCD has gathered, most of all, the voices and vision of high-school-age youth—although we did publish the popular Fires in the Middle School Bathroom: Advice for Teachers from Middle Schoolers by Kathleen Cushman and Laura Rogers (The New Press, 2008). In the months ahead, we aim to include more voices and perspectives from the middle grades.
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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