The mantra "Just ask the kids!" is a favorite of our instructional coach. She inspired Ann and I with these words many times last year. Their voices dynamically changed our practice by providing truth and motivation.
Ann and I have continued to make this our goal this year. We provide our students ample opportunity to assist us in creating, tweaking, and redefining our Student Learning Community every day. They know themselves as learners very well and can help us understand what is working and what is not.
Today we shared with them additions to our Metaphor for "Creating a 21st Learning Community," before we officially post it. WOW! Their reflections and ideas were amazing, causing us to laugh, tear up, hug, dance, smile, etc. They have been an intregal part of creating our program- they are essentially the CORE, or essence if you will- so their opinions, criticism, and thoughts are what we seek out first and foremost. The depth of their thinking, their expressive voices, their dedication to the process- that is what inspires us to keep processing, researching, and believing.
Have you asked your students to reflect and provide you with feedback lately? I am so glad we did today. Their words have stuck with us and proven that we are traveling the right path, making the right choices, and empowering them with the right skills... thinking, trusting, collaborating, respecting, and celebrating.