Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Transparency and Building Democratic Community


The following was inspired by a recent comment on a another blog :

You know the expression “if you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem”?

Well, why don’t we ask our students to help with some of the problems we’re having? They are part of the problem, right? Perhaps they could provide solutions. They are, after all, the consumers. Don’t we want their input? Isn’t it their school? We may have more at stake since some of us will be in the building longer than the kids, and we may have more to offer in the way of experience. But…I can’t help but think that if transparency and building community are part of our vision (distributive leadership), we need to invite all voices to be heard.

What we share on these blogs are, in a sense, our educational philosophies. If we don’t want students to see what we write, maybe we need to rethink what we write. Or, to take it one step further, maybe we need to rethink what we think. For a school that’s all about teaching and learning, we have a lot to learn. I remember being really impressed by Woolsey’s comment that everyday he is the teacher and the student. We need to keep those words in mind. The blog should be open to all members of the QHST community, all of its stakeholders.

3 comments:

Superfly said...

Love you. Love this post. However, I think that students in the school need to be more aware of its philosophies and such before being involved in making decisions and changes regarding its future. TI should be a mandatory part of the QHST curriculum and, even if it's not, every student should be reading the concept paper (like the teachers did before they were hired and the students in TI do when creating model schools). I know a great deal of the students, right now, would try to make changes they think would benefit them, but would probably turn out to be detrimental to both them and the school. I agree that we are in need of more transparency and allowing students more say, but I fear what we would do once we had it. The voices of all community members (the greater QHST community) need to be heard and taken into account at all times. However, I think that a lot of the students need to be more willing to make a strengthened commitment to their education before we can have the ideal (my ideal, anyway) degree of transparency an equality in which the students take on an equal part in the teaching and teachers take an equal part in the learning.

Ms. Mayo said...

Joanna,

I don't think that opening up the conversation to students means allowing for some kind of takeover. It doesn't mean that if kids don't like DEAR we'll let them scrap it from the program. Including them implies that they would need to be more aware of the theory behind the practice.

And I agree with you that kids should read the concept paper.

Lori

Superfly said...

But shouldn't "including them" also give them an equal voice in decision making? The students are the majority and in a truly democratic environment...