05 May 2013

Student Opinion - worth its weight in gold

Earlier this week I received an email from three girls in Year 7 asking questions about a learning strategy we are currently using in the upper school. The message was simple, it was persuasively written (something I was pleased to see given NAPLAN is a week away!) and the grammar, spelling and punctuation weren't too bad either!

Regardless of the mechanics of the writing, I was most impressed with their forthrightness, frankness and confidence to make their feelings known. I emailed Chris Wise, their teacher, to see what it was all about, and in our ensuing conversation about the learning, the current arrangement, the fact that we liked their final question and finally, what we were going to do about it, I realised how far we have come as a society.

As a twelve year old I would NEVER have questioned my teacher about classroom practices, let alone my very scary headmaster, Mr Evans - either in writing or in person. Not only wouldn't I have questioned them, I wouldn't have even thought of it! And if I had, I probably would have copped a walloping at home for being rude!

I love that our students feel comfortable enough to email me or stop me in the playground to have a chat about something they don't like (or even do like). And I love that I work with a group of teachers and teacher aides who firstly, don't view this behaviour as subversive or threatening; and secondly, embrace the opinions of students and consider their own practices in relation to it. It doesn't always mean we are going to change things to make them the way our students want them but we do think about it and discuss it.

This is persuasive political action at its best and I hope these three girls maintain this level of confidence to question the world around them as they grow and mature. Believe me - they are going to be a force to be reckoned with!

Good job, girls!

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