Student voice, student choice, relevancy, collaboration, intellectual risk-taking. All these phrases should sound familiar as they come from the HSE21 Best Practice Model. While these are all things that we strive for, sometimes we might wonder how we help our students understand that this is what we’re going for.
I recently saw an article from the Harvard Business Review about questions that businesses should ask their employees. Based on a 2016 study by Deloitte, people feel loyalty to companies that support their own career and life ambitions. Wouldn’t it be fair to say that our students are likely to feel the same way (more interested in learning when they feel that the learning is valuable to them)?
With that, imagine the empowerment our students would feel if we not only ask these questions, but actually use their answers to guide the learning that’s taking place in our classrooms! Here are the questions:
- What are you good at doing? What school activities take less effort? What do you do first because you know it will be easy? What things do others notice as strengths for you? These questions will help students to identify their strengths and find possibilities to grow those strengths.
- What do you enjoy? What are the things at school that you most look forward to? What things give you extra energy when you know they were coming up? If you could design your own school day with no restrictions, what would you spend your time learning? These questions help students find, or remember, what they love about school.
- What feels most useful? What about school makes you feel most proud? What do you do that is critical to the success of others? What are your highest priorities for your life, and how does school fit in? These questions will highlight the inherent value of certain activities.
- What creates a sense of forward momentum? What are you learning that you’ll use in the future? What do you envision for your future? How’s your work today getting you closer to what you want for yourself? This line of questioning will help students think about how the things they are doing now will help them achieve their goals.
- How do you relate to others? What kind of work partnerships are best for you? How does your work at school enhance your connections with others outside of school? This will help our students see the value in meaningful relationships.
Helping our students to identify their purpose for learning will help them feel more connected in the classroom, and to see the value that comes from their learning.