Taking Aim

Date: January 12, 2010

A dropout’s perspective on education reform is one not often sought, but should be. In “A Dropout’s Guide to Education Reform,” J. William Towne, a former dropout, says he has the “silver bullet” for education reform – engaging teachers who make school “fun,” relevant and interesting.

Towne’s recommendation is even more crucial for programs designed to serve students who are at risk. The role of the teacher, and how he/she uses that role, is the backbone of the Ombudsman program. It is the relationships built with students, the fulfillment of needs (Love/Belonging, Power, Freedom and Fun), and the assistance provided to students to understand the material and its relevance that ensure student success.

According to William Glasser, “fun” is the reward for learning. He states that “it takes a lot of effort to get along well with each other, and the best way to begin to do so is to have some fun learning together…Laughing and learning are the foundation of all successful long-term relationships.”

As educators, we need to make sure that we bring Glasser’s “fun” back into students’ school experience. We need to build long-term relationships to get learning back into students’ quality worlds. This begins by:

  • using assessments and differentiated instruction so that students are rewarded with “fun” as they achieve success;
  • connecting lessons to student interests and the real world to establish relevance;
  • using group activities for test preparation, problem solving and social skill development;
  • reinforcing positive behaviors and successes; and
  • remembering to smile and laugh each day!

As silver bullets, teachers must “take aim” and create fun in the classroom every day so students want to come back the next day. If we miss the target, we run a real risk of losing students.

Categories: Education Resources
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