New Learning

“The Educative Committee”

I was sitting this evening with a small group of students that are working as TAs for one of the classes I am teaching this Fall semester. On one of our many tangents, we spoke about one of our students and talked about how we had each relayed information about our interactions with this student to each other. The interaction reminded me of a paper I wrote a while back which I called “The Educative Committee.” My idea was that every student, every young person, should have a number of different people looking out for their learning and growth from a number of different perspectives. These people should be in constant communication, updating, supporting, and challenging each other to help each individual student grow.

At the time I wrote the paper, I recall feeling like something of an idealist. Yes, it was a great idea, but honestly, how could this ever happen? The simple logistics of having such a conversation are impossible, not to mention all the work that would be done to have to convince anyone that this was worthwhile. Impossible. Yet, here we were, doing just that. I quickly realized that this is what we do in our program generally. Once you are a student, you are welcomed into our community, and then each of us is looking out for your growth and development as much as possible.

So, why not do this more broadly? Maybe teachers should act less as instructors and more as conveners — bringing together the people necessary to move each person forward in their own learning trajectories. Certainly, there are many adults (and youth) interested in helping in our classrooms. Why not bring them in as learning mentors? Why not start building “educative committees” (though I suppose I like the term learning committees more).

I also find this inspiring because it puts everyone in the position of being an educator. If we are in someone’s life, we are also a part of their “learning committee”, and therefore are responsible for thinking about how they might grow, or what we might teach them.

One reply on ““The Educative Committee””

I like the idea that the people in students’ lives could come into better communication with each other–beyond the occasional parent-teacher conference or visit with the principal. Uniting people around the goal of good care and education also has huge potential to build stronger communities.

It reminds me a little of this practice we had at camp where we’d take time at the end of our staff meetings to address needs or concerns we had for specific campers–just to get everyone on the same page and more eyes watching out for the kids who needed some extra attention. Unfortunately, at camp, you’re always a little pressed for time, so it was usually more of a “what problems do we need to address?” discussion. But with a little more time, we could have worked more towards “what growth do we want to encourage, and how?”.

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