Thursday, October 21, 2004

Putting students first.

In the business world more and more companies are creating a more customer focused culture. They appreciate that their survival depends on customers having a positive experience - one that makes them return for more. As a result they win loyalty and trust and in turn more customers as people share their 'stories' with others.

If schools had to survive by attracting potential students I wonder how much schools would have to change? It would be great if schools took the time to have conversations with students and their parents about the purpose of the school and in particular what ideas the students themselves have to improve it. These conversations should also include past students, both those who have been successful and those who were not.

Students could be asked:

1 If you were to attend a school where you would be exited to learn and study how would the school be organized?
2 How would you be taught?
2 What would you expect to learn?

These questions were answered by a group of students in the US. Some consistent themes that emerged were: that students wanted a more interactive teaching style, a more relevant curriculum and schools that gave them a role and a voice in their own education.

I wonder what secondary students would say in NZ? If we were willing to listen and solicit their opinions, we might find ways to engage students in their own education. They mightn't have all the answers but we might be able to learn how to make school less alienating for many students. Working together it might be possible to break through current superficial changes that are doing little to solve current school failure.

Worth a try. Seems to work in the business world.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

If schools were voluntary and teachers were paid by how much they attract students, and how the much the students enjoy the learning experience, it might make a difference!