Saturday, January 27, 2018

Student Learning: A Reflection

Recently the question came up, 'What is student learning?' I was interested in how my thoughts have morphed since zooming out and gaining perspective in a school leadership role. Here is my reflection on that question.

Learning happens naturally because we want to survive, thrive, and have purpose. Increasing learning requires adding resources as well as a person that values us as individuals and encourages our learning. To expand learning we must design an environment around the student that allows thinking beyond survival. Effective school environments address past and present trauma, meet basic needs, and create a sense of belonging for all students. To further cultivate learning, an effective school environment must support the number one factor in a child’s learning, the teacher. Great teachers work to build relationships with students and learn about their unique gifts and talents. Through learning about their students, a teacher shows them how their individual abilities can be directed towards real world problems. Piquing curiosity, a teacher appropriately challenges students to become better problem solvers, and directs behavior, while guiding social interactions. Exposing students to real world problems, a great teacher will scale these experiences so that students can understand the relevancy of their learning. Upon graduating students will be problem solvers that make our world a better place. Students will learn because they want to do more than just exist. They want to grow and realize how they can have an impact. Leveling the playing field and expanding the reach of learning for all students, takes a great teacher relentlessly cultivating learning who is supported by a great school leader that continually establishes a culture of learning in the school environment.

What is student learning to you? How is it different? How do all of our collective answers to this question help student growth in a school?