A couple weeks ago our staff met for our annual mid-year retreat. We opened the day watching an inspirational Ted Talk from twelve-year old author and poet Adora Svitak.
I was struck not only by her poise, humor and eloquence, but by her astute assessment of the need for increased learning partnerships between students and teachers.
“I think that adults should start learning from kids… It shouldn’t just be a teacher at the head of the classroom telling students do this, do that. The students should teach their teachers. Learning between grown ups and kids should be reciprocal.”
She goes on to note that “the reality unfortunately is a little different, and it has a lot to do with trust, or a lack of it.” In classrooms, trust also needs to be reciprocal. Students have to trust their teachers to know that their learning needs will be valued and accounted for. Teachers also have to trust in their students, that they’ll tell them when they need to slow down, or explain something a different way.
More than anything, kids need that trust and freedom to explore and cultivate their own unique gifts, talents, and interests. As Adora says,
“No matter your position or place in life, it is imperative to create opportunities for children so that we can grow up to blow you away.”