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Dessie commented on Students in PD

Trever, I'm so glad I ran across your idea because it reminds me how important student voice is to our professional growth.  As teachers, reflection is a critical part of our growth, but I wonder how often we get authentic student feedback about our practice.  Last year when I was facilitating a professional development for social studies teachers, we unintentionally got to hear from a student about the strategies we were exploring, and it was powerful.   I held the PD event in a library after school at one of our high schools.  Once I began the PD, a student wandered over and sarcastically asked what we were doing, then sat down and said he wanted to participate after I told him we were going to be learning about reading strategies.  I told him it would be great if he joined us, thinking he would leave in a few minutes after he got bored.  He ended up staying for one and half hours of the two hour workshop, and actually raised his hand to apologize for having to leave so he could catch the city bus home.   It was such a gift to have him at our PD because he lent his perspective to what we were learning in our PD, which I've never thought to intentionally include before (outside of a quote or two from students included in a PowerPoint). His insight provided us useful feedback as we were exploring ways to help students access complex text and develop social studies literacy habits of mind.  What was incredible is that it felt like we broke a barrier with this student as we continued to ask him about his thoughts on the strategies we were learning and as he participated as an equal in our PD - we were all learners.  We all sincerely were interested in his perspective and what works with students.  This experience made me realize how valuable student voice is to our professional growth.   Your post reminded me to be more intentional in including students in our professional development, so we can all benefit.  I think you're right when you suggest it will help students become leaders in the classroom, and I think it will also facilitate students to be more metacognitive about their learning and how to problem solve.  Thanks for a great post!

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Dessie commented on Develop Geographic Literacy

Thanks, Brett, and kudos to Moss Pike for his great work with students.  That's a fantastic example of what I'm talking about!  Unfortunately, with all the focus on STEM, it seems geography has been compromised in many schools and districts, which I fear has contributed to some of the civic apathy experienced today.  Though STEM has it's place, I'm concerned that if we forget about the significance and attraction of other disciplines, we not only risk turning kids off from school, we risk feeding apathy as well. Of course, we want students to be well balanced, but I often wonder, what if students had more say in determining what course of study to follow in order to graduate from high school?  What if we listened more to what students want to learn about?  How would that impact their depth of learning?