The #edblognz challenge for March is to imagine my ideal school. The challenge asks me to consider the following:
- What would it look like,
- How would it function?
- What would be its purpose?
- What would its vision be?
I am going to start with Purpose because I think everything else follows on from that. Alfie Kohn suggests that a school’s purpose is to:
I am not so sure about number 4 especially the bit about corporate profits, but the reality is that we need to prepare students for life and work is part of life, and we need money to buy the things to sustain us, so wealth has to be created and someone has to do it. I would just hope in my ideal world – getting beyond myself now, that that wealth could be shared a little more equitably than it is now.
Anyway, if the purpose of school is to do all of those things, then the vision for my school is going to be something like: “Dream Big, Aim High but Keep it Real and don’t forget your Mum”. Okay then, a bit tongue in cheek but I would encourage my students to try their best, aim to be the best that they can be, recognise their talents and those of others, be humble but be proud, care for each other, their family and friends and the wider community, be empathetic, courageous and always remember where they have come from as they strive for what they wish for. I would encourage them to learn widely, not limit themselves to a narrow experience of subjects, be curious about nature, the world, science, arts, languages, make connections with the past and create pathways to the future, build relationships, laugh, sing, run, jump, make time for themselves to be quiet, to reflect and to talk to as many different people as they can.
I would encourage all members of the school community to make connections with the land in which they live, both the physical geography and also the people who have shaped it, the conflicts they have endured and the relationships they have forged. I would help students understand that the hub of all cultural locatedness is the ‘marae’ or the spiritual centre of a place. Depending on the country and its cultures this could be a church, a mosque, a ring of stones. As citizens we have a responsibility to find out and use correctly the names of local landmarks such as mountains, rivers or lakes and buildings. We also should gain a basic understanding of the different protocols and language that enable us to interact in culturally sensitive ways.
My school would not have any walls. The world is my school. Learning is everywhere.
I haven’t really thought about how it will actually function yet – this is an ideal, a dream isn’t it? So I have made a ThingLink to illustrate how learning can happen. (It is still under construction, but thought I’d share anyway). Hope it works!!