Thursday, May 5, 2011

The school I'd like

The Guardian in the U.K. is running a series called "The School I'd Like," which asked British students for their ideas about how to make school better. Most of the students who responded are in the primary grades, and much of what they want is pie-in-the-sky, but there are also some thoughtful, sensible suggestions. Many of the suggestions reflect children's understandable frustration at being treated like, well, children. Joshua Kennedy, age 11, wrote:
"The children of the modern day are getting more and more rights such as having the right to say their opinion, and this is mine....[Y]ou should be allowed to say what you think to the teacher without being criticised or given a detention."
There is some evidence that schools are encouraging more participation, and that students are being heard. According to Hannah Scott, age 10,
"They do ask what we'd like sometimes. When we were getting a new teacher, we had a lesson from three teachers and we were asked which one we liked the best. They did choose her, so they listened to us."
The Guardian worked with a panel of ten children to develop a manifesto based on the submissions they received. The Guardian will share the manifesto with opinion leaders and ask for their feedback.

You can find the whole series, including an introduction to the panel and the 2011 manifesto, as well as the manifesto from a similar project conducted ten years ago, here.

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