Monday, February 18, 2013

Top Three Issues Impacting Students

Quick, what are the top three issues most impacting young people today. 

I had the privilege of being part of an Interview Team and that question was posed to the candidates.

I would have loved to engage in a conversation with the candidates regarding their choices, but being an interview and all, there was no time for that.  (Perhaps we need to change the way we go about interviewing. I am thinking it should be more conversational, instead of buzz words and sound bites).

This question has stuck with me and I would be interested in your perspective and feedback. I wish I could have had a meaningful conversation with the candidates and then asked them to express their ideas on how to promote positive change to these issues.

Here are my top three--

Stress. Or maybe you call it Worry or Anxiety.  More and more I think it is a chronic state of being for young people.  To be sure, chronic stress does a lot of damage to one's mental state and physical well-being. Here is a recent study on Stress by the American Psychological Association. While this focus is on young adults, I find it to be true for children.

Social Connectedness. I think there is a lack of it for some of our young people.  Inherently we have a need for a sense of belonging and, yet, that is something that is missing from so many lives. How many students do not feel a connection with their teacher?  How many families have a sit-down meal together?  How many kids do not know how to engage in play?  How many are being intentionally/unintentionally excluded socially? In general, is there a genuine connection being made that is lasting and meaningful?

Thinking. By that, I mean knowing what to do when you do not know what to do. I am a big believer that we all need Alone Time/Quiet Time. I have found that time without constraints can provide ample space for reflection, helps you regulate your behavior, and reaps the benefit of problem solving and figuring out what to do when you do not know what to do.

I imagine your top three issues will vary depending on your student demographics and school culture/climate.  That's why I want to hear from you.  Please leave a Comment.  Or write your own post about it, but be sure to leave a link here in the comment section.

Come to think of it, maybe I'll ask students what their Top Three Issues are which impact them...

Monday, February 04, 2013

To Where It Is Headed


I love this quote (and artwork by Hugh MacLeod).  It is such a challenge, though.  It is a challenge, to me, because  the puck--Education--is always changing, adapting, evolving, moving.  Or at least it should be and needs to be.  Now more than ever we need to be forward moving with laser vision and not grounded in the past.  Another challenge this presents is that it requires caring, thoughtful leadership to inspire/motivate everyone to be headed in that direction and it beckons collaboration and teamwork from everyone.  (Here is a very good post by Lyn Hilt called The Care Effect).

Can we honestly say we are adapting and evolving with focused purpose and passion?  Can we say we are moving in a direction that is driven by what is best for young people and based on good pedagogy?  Are we changing with the times and using all the best of what's available?

We can see where the puck is heading, but often can only make a hypothesis as to the trajectory and pace. Think about it—we are preparing kids for a future which we have no idea what it will be like.  Usually we prepare them for our past. We need to stop teaching and living and leading like that.

Let’s make an effort to go where the puck is headed, and not where it is now.  What are your thoughts?