Debate Magazine

What Does It Mean to “love the Child”?

By Stevemiranda

Last week, I wrote that telling students what to learn is not the point of school. And, helping students learn facts and develop skills is not the point of school. The point of school is to maintain an environment in which students feel safe and secure, in which they have relationships with adults that are trusting and authentic. The point of school is to help young people transition from childhood to adulthood.

Human beings are hardwired for learning, so all schools need to do is create a space in which learning is most likely to happen.

I wrote, “Love the child, and then watch her pursue reading on her own. Love the child, and watch her ask for harder math problems. When people feel good about themselves, you cannot stop them from learning.”

That all might sound a bit vague. For example, what exactly are teachers supposed to do when they “love the child”? It’s not clear based on what I wrote, so I wanted provide a specific example.

In our staff meetings at PSCS, we rarely talk about academic subjects. The content of our staff meetings is typically filled with dialogue about individual kids. Our goal is to make sure that every student in the school—and with eight staff members serving 38 students, it’s not hard to track, literally, every student in the school—is excited about something in their life, excited about something at school, feeling connected to other members of the community, and challenging herself to stretch outside her comfort zone.

Most importantly, we want to make sure that every kid is feeling happy.

If something appears off with a particular student, then we go around and share our thoughts. Is the child feeling anxiety about something? Is everything OK at home? Is she showing signs that she’s moving from one developmental stage and into another? Then, we brainstorm ways we can help that students feel safe, secure, and happy.

One of my first-ever staff meetings at PSCS included a 15-minute discussion of a student who was showing poor posture and a negative affect in one of his classes. The teaching staff each took turns offering suggestions on what might be wrong and how we might get him plugged into activities that would make his heart sing.

I couldn’t believe it. I had spent the past decade teaching in big urban schools in which poor posture and a negative affect toward classes was utterly normal. This new way of thinking about school was a revelation to me, and it lit up all the common sense meters in my brain. Of course this is how human beings learn best.

The best part of it is that, in the past two years at PSCS, I’ve witnessed what happens when you don’t try to force academics on kids: they take the challenge on themselves, by choice.

It’s been a long time since I written this, but it remains true: school doesn’t have to suck.

(Join the discussion at www.facebook.com/reeducate. Get updates at www.twitter.com/reeducate.)


You Might Also Like :

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog

These articles might interest you :

  • Notes on Jake ~ 10 Months Old

    Notes Jake Months

    It's hard to believe that we've only had Jake for a little over four months. This summer has flown by and Jake has become such a part of the family that it feel... Read more

    15 hours, 46 minutes ago by   Hikingwithheather
    OUTDOORS, TREK
  • Banana Coconut Bread

    Banana Coconut Bread

    (recipe adapted modify slightly from Cuisine Paradise)Ingredients:3 large eggs120g ripe bananas, mashed3 Tbsp maple syrup40g coconut oil1 Tbsp rum1/4 cup... Read more

    16 hours, 3 minutes ago by   Cathysjoy
    FOOD & DRINK, RECIPES
  • Learn How To Write A Blog With These 13 Tips

    Learn Write Blog With These Tips

    The idea of creating your blog has been around for a long time. For many companies, blogs have become a tool that increases the potential of an online... Read more

    The 20 August 2018 by   Kharim Tomlinson
    BUSINESS, SOCIAL MEDIA
  • Play It By Beer, Brad Saunders Interview + 5 Quick Questions

    Play Beer, Brad Saunders Interview Quick Questions

    Brad Saunders has had a busy year. And the latest buzz, thanks to his most recent single Play It By Beer, has him planning on staying busy. We caught up with... Read more

    The 20 August 2018 by   Phjoshua
    LIFESTYLE, SELF EXPRESSION
  • Dan Lawson’s JOGLE FKT Record Attempt Over

    Lawson’s JOGLE Record Attempt Over

    British 24 hour international, Dan Lawson set off from John O Groats on August 13th at 6:00 am and is currently in the Mendip Hills south of Bristol. This... Read more

    The 20 August 2018 by   Abichal
    OTHER SPORTS, OUTDOORS
  • The European Union Just Made Bioenergy Worse for Biodiversity

    European Union Just Made Bioenergy Worse Biodiversity

    While some complain that the European Union (EU) is an enormous, cumbersome beast (just ask the self-harming Brexiteers), it generally has some rather laudable... Read more

    The 20 August 2018 by   Bradshaw
    ENVIRONMENT
  • The Romantics

    Romantics

    These two words conjure an image in my mind of running through fields with flowers in my hand and my beloved running after me, very much like the Bollywood film... Read more

    The 20 August 2018 by   Ashleylister
    BOOKS, CREATIVITY, CULTURE, SELF EXPRESSION