In the truest sense of Graded’s mission, I recently had an inspiring moment and have taken on a new challenge. At the 2017 Innovate Conference in October, I was honored to work with 35 students from grades 8 to 12. Our task was to prepare a new series for our educational conference called “Student-Led Fishbowls.”
Fishbowls? What are those? Sitting in circles, students discussed, gave feedback, and shared their perspectives about school and the lives they lead. Each session was 90 minutes and in each, teachers from Graded and other schools around South America observed and intently listened. I was fortunate to assist in moderating the conversation with our students and probed students to talk candidly about their experiences at Graded.
What the other teachers and I heard was inspirational. Students discussed a wide range of topics: the effects of technology in their lives, student stress, how they are assessed, and how they perceive inspirational instruction, among other things. Not only did they articulate their views clearly, but they were often quite profound. Their “voices” were true, their perspectives were real, and, most importantly, their suggestions were impressive. These conversations sparked so many ideas that I have already begun discussing how we can utilize them at our school and in our learning community.
Hence my new challenge. I’d like to begin a new series called SUPBowls during which I will meet with various student groups in each division – High School, Middle School, and Lower School – and listen intently to bring their perspective and reality to the front of our decision making.
Beginning next semester, we will have periodic fishbowls and invite our faculty to listen in as we discuss what students want me to know. I look forward to listening hard, reporting on what they share, and taking action on their ideas.
Inspired by students and challenged to listen to their voices to ensure their success,