must have of and for their students,
yet we seldom hear of
the expectations students have of their schools."
-Leaving to Learn, by Elliot Washor & Charles Mojkowski
What is your school's "customer experience"?
When reading Leaving to Learn by Elliot Washor and Charles Mojkowski, one gets a strong sense of the hollowness of the-above mentioned platitudes coming from so many schools, both public and private, that one one wants to shout, "Show me". In this book, Even the education novice understands how schools under-deliver on the "promise".
Unless the school mandate and community delivers the environment, conditions and culture for engaged and productive learning, phrases du jour like "inspiring life-long learning" are merely vacuous talking points.. . . As one of our students said of his former school: "They knew my weaknesses, but that is all they knew about me." And it's true: the bottom line for measuring learning in most schools is knowing what students cannot do, not what they can.
And seldom are weaknesses viewed as insights into strengths. (p.12)
A remarkable and unique signature element of Leaving to Learn is the framework or template, if you will, that can help every school create the right conditions for learning success, which is redefined BEYOND the traditional parameters. Excerpts:
Students' expectations constitute the new "rules of engagement" in the relationship that young people want with their schools. (p. xxv)
Based on our work with young people and the reasons they disengage from school, we have identified ten expectations, phrased as questions from a student's perspective, that we believe are indispensible conditions schools must provide if they are to engage students in productive learning: (p.22)
The other student expectations are:1) Relationships: Do my teachers and others who might serve as my teachers know about me and my interests and talents?
2) Relevance: Do I find what the school is teaching relevant to my interests?
3) Authenticity: Is the learning and work I do regarded as significant outside school by my communities of practice and by experts, family, and employers?
Each are framed by a key question and further elaborated with anecdotal examples.
Intriguing? Yes. Disruptive? Yes. Do-able?
Here's what the authors have to say:
Leaving to Learn is an important book. It is also refreshing because it marries big picture with concrete options but not the headache-inducing, super-granular kind. Technology and policy are part of the conversation, but not the lead stars as much as productive learning, relationships and relevance.There you have it:
ten expectations that, consciously or not,
students crave and that most schools largely ignore,
arguing that these expectations are far too idealistic.
Nevertheless, in the worlds of vocation and avocation,
providers of out-of-school learning are listening carefully to students' expectations and improving their ability to deliver.
Indeed, we think that social entrepreneurs will begin to treat these expectations as design requirements for developing alternative learning programs
that address the user's experience.
These expectations - essential conditions - for productive learning
are much more easily addressed if schools take advantage
of the world outside school,
where young people find adults who are doing the work
the young people wish to do and
emulate these mentors in developing the necessary habits and practices.
As Sir Ken Robinson concludes in the book's Foreword, "To succeed as it has to, education must engage the curiosity, creativity, aptitudes, and passions of every student.
Leaving to Learn has vital lessons for all of us on how to do exactly that."
Go to Part 1 - What do young people want from their schools?
Getting Out of Their School Silo
Passion-Based High School vs. High School Boredom: Choose
Bill & Melinda's Field Trips