I’ve just begun reading Nikhil Goyal’s One Size Does Not Fit All: A Student’s Assessment of School. Goyal is an American high-school senior who has made a name for himself talking to the media about educational change, and although I’m not far into his book yet, I am already intrigued. I’ll write more on his ideas later, but for now, I’d like to reopen a discussion on his pet subject: the need to hear from young people about what could make school better.
Last year, I asked for student responses to the question “What needs to change about school?” The answers that flowed in were diverse and enlightening, and I feel like there’s still lots more to be said on this subject. So I would love to hear from more of you. What have you encountered in your time in school that you think really needs to change?
You can go to the permanent page devoted to this open call in order to get more details and to see some previous responses on the subject. Most of the essays I received last year concerned the administration and requirements of school, things like the usefulness (or not) of Pell Grants and the over-emphasis on grades. I would be delighted to hear more of your opinions on these and similar matters, but there’s another side of the question that is preying on my mind.
The seemingly endless current stream of cyberbullying scandals, a couple of personal teaching experiences over the last few days, and a second listen to This American Life’s fabulous podcast “Middle School” have combined to make me think more about the strange social environment that schools create. We pile a bunch of people of approximately the same age together in one building, one classroom, one playground, and we ask them to negotiate so many things. Is this working? What are your personal experiences of the way “school society” works? Is there anything we could change about it to make it work better?
To address this or any other topic on how “school” could be improved, please visit the open call page, or leave your thoughts in the comments below.
Image by Michal Zacharzewski