Emma believes in a school where students have a voice in what they learn and how they learn. But at the start of the year Emma started to become aware of growing apathy about learning amongst students at her school. Students weren’t interested in learning because they didn’t see school as being of any value to them. When she interviewed kids they told Emma that “School is not what I want to do”, “It is boring” and “I don’t see the point”.
In one Psychology class, Emma and her students were watching Remember the Titans. The class were discussing the importance of team work in achievement when Dylan said “We won’t get anywhere, miss. We’re all shit from round here so there’s no point doing anything”.
Emma decided students needed to become part of the curriculum design team – true architects of their own learning.
She started small. A group of about 16 students initially planned a day of learning with an alternate timetable. They went through the ideation process and came up with all sorts of crazy ideas – sorb balls on the oval, etc… In the end they decided their ideal school day would include workshops, drama activities, cooking with teachers and sharing the food, guest speakers, writing news reports and photography.
About 380 students were involved in the ‘Ideal School Day’. 16 were closely involved in the spark of the initial idea and the design of the program. 16 students cooked with staff and shared food with them on the day.
Some students were able to share great stories that could otherwise have gone unnoticed. One student wrote a poem and then read it out to the Year 9 and 10 cohort.
“It was very emotional for her but a really empowering moment”.
Like the idea?
Emma would love your support for Design Your Day, or for you to start a similar program in your school, and she’d love to hear about any ideas you have or lend a hand where she can. Shoot an email to firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to get in touch with Emma and we can connect you. Feel free to cheer her on in the comments below as well.
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