The Long Term view
You and your family will have to consider what you feel comfortable with in terms of expectations of teaching and assessment styles. Choosing a school, means placing your trust in people and a system to do the best for your children. You have to know what ‘the best’ looks like for you, your partner and your child/ren. You need a long term view..
The biggest question I ask myself and about my kids, when choosing a school is:
- What sort of a person do you want to be as an adult? (Social, emotional, physical and academic)
- Will this school support these ideas? Why or why not?
- What values do you hold as dear and important? Do you see these mirrored in the school’s approach, philosophy and actions?
- If schooling options are limited, what compromises are you prepared to make in terms of your ideals and which ideals, values and beliefs are non-negotiable?
Now my children are older, and one is off to University, they are involved in the questioning and reflection process. My children became active agents in different parts school choosing process, as they themselves became more able to to respond and reflect on who they want to be and who they are as learners and people in the real world.
All in all my children have attended a total of 8 schooling institutions and I have taught in at least 10 across my career so far.
A personal reflection on ‘ The Long Term ‘ view in connection to my own children and the schools they’ve attended have included project -based learning and experiential philosophies, IB world Schools in International settings and public and private schools in a national setting. No school has been perfect and at different times I have had one or two of my three children in schools that were different to their siblings because of their learning and social needs. I have three children, interestingly all three of my children thrived in constructivist schooling philosophies and struggled in the tradition skill and drill classrooms. One child has dyslexia and is an extravert who loved social and group learning, but who struggled with teaching that relied heavily on print, this child did best when working in learning environments and communities when they were allowed to build ideas through hands-on activities. She is a puzzle learner, someone who can join parts together, if they have an overview off the concepts informing the topic The second child, is very introverted, is great at analysis and thrived in learning communities that were quiet and had a mix of small group and solo work. This child benefits from learning communities that encourage for discussion and delve into big ideas before exploring the parts of that idea, he is a top down learner. The third child is interested and talented in the area of language acquisition and is a learner who needs to see and be able to transfer and apply ideas to real life situations if it is to have any value or contribute to understanding. This child benefits from having learning communities and environments that embrace challenge and push the boundaries. Different learning communities within different schools served them better than others and this ‘service’ was heavily influenced by the politics at play in a learning community. Politics such as gender, age, social interactions, belief systems, culture etc that were held by grade level teaching teams, individual teachers and admin always influenced the lives of my children at school and my interactions with the school. It is some these ideas that we will be exploring in the next blog.
This post, “Choosing a school – The Long Term view” is the third in a four part series including
- Choosing a school – Who is the learner? (Part 1)
- Choosing a school – What type of school? (Part 2)
- Choosing a school – The power of gender politics (Part 4)