A germinating thought: school and civics are intrinsically linked

Posted on 04.05.2012

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It’s not completely developed, but these ideas keep germinating and interacting with each other; please bear with me as I try to get out a few related thoughts I have been mulling over:

  1. School and the work done in school should not be confined to inside the buildings walls: it should be based on the goings-on of the world around it, it should be relavent and it should be public – it should also interact with that world around it. (both the “outside” world and with other classes/classrooms).  I have written on this before and will most likely write about this again… just stay tuned if you are confused about this – heck, I am still trying to refine my point here!
  2. A well functioning school is not solely driven on achievement-based incentives/motives.  It works best when it’s community invests in itself.  I am basically arguing that we should be encouraging students and staff – heck all members of the school’s community – to re-invest in the school beyond just academic-classroom-related actions.  We humans do our best work when we are able to pursue our passions and interests, when we feel supported by the community so that failing does not necessarily have negative connotations, it just is part of the process of finding a solution.  School must be a place where it’s members feel comfortable doing that.
  3. School should be a place of safety, support founded on love and compassion. um, duh.  I think that goes hand in hand with the above.  Again, I have mentioned this before, and will probably write about this again.
  4. We should dedicate school to service – ok, this is where I am still developing this but there seems to be something really really important about this developing point.  There are two levels to this: first, it seems to support items 1-3.  Doing service for each other, and for the larger community fosters the first 3 ideals.  Second, its just the right thing to do; it creates a morally just individual and positively affects all of society.  In a world full of negativity (they call us negadelphia for a reason…) it is important to help others.  Yeah, some call it Karma, I call it doing the right thing.  We should be fostering this maxim everyday and organizing service does that.

I started writing as a quick break between grading student blogs – which are awesome by the way – so stay tuned for more.  I just had to get these ideas out.  I hope to develop these ideas further and maybe find some research to support and develop them.  Ultimately, we know how to do school right, I’d love to see urban public schools integrate these sorts of things into their practice.

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Posted in: curriculum