I wonder if developing a healthy student culture might be a key to transforming our schools. No matter what we do with the curriculum, or with pedagogy; it is all for naught if the students’ culture runs contrary.
Is the culture one where students value academic achievement, or are they living in a “It’s bad to be good” environment?
Is the student culture one where kids feel empowered to speak up and take initiative, or are they consistenty underestimated and left out?…”What’s the use?”
Do they feel their individuality is respected, or are they just part of a mob tramping from class to class?
Do they feel safe in school, or are they bullied and intimidated?
Do they feel it’s ok to care; or is the operative phrase “Whatever…” puncuated with a shrug of the shoulders.
The truth is that student cultures do not exist in a vacuum. Yes, I understand that student culture is influenced heavily by the media, by their parents, by the very nature of their hormones at certain ages; AND I believe that if we were more adept at modeling the culture we desire; things would be radically different in our schools.