One of the things I love about teaching my college students in my Foundations of Education class is helping them to grapple with the same types of questions teachers everywhere ask themselves every day. It is one of the reasons I love the Collaboratory too. As a teacher in the transformed learning ecology we describe in Teaching 2030, I am continually transformed as I learn from from my students, just as the learn from me and each other.

Some of the questions love to ask my students are, “What does it mean to be a literate person today?”, “What is the purpose of education?”, and my favorite, “What is a good school?”

Last week I asked my students this question and their answers, created collaboratively, are below. Every time I ask a question like this I learn and become a little more hopeful for our future.

I am always surprised by my my twenty-something students’ perspectives and analysis of our current educational system. For example look at Group 1’s response. A good school…..


They see the difficult situation students, teachers, and educators are in today and they have ideas about how to make them better.

Group 2 showed me how some of the American ideals we are discussing related to educational history are still valued by today’s students.


Obviously some of the responses are not realities in all or even most schools. What I love about Group 3’s response is that it focuses on realities that are obtainable. It is realistic and optimistic simultaneously.


Group 4’s response actually held more subtlety than the bold words would seem to express. This group believed a good school honored a variety of cultures, reached for equality, held safety in high regard, (emotional and physical), and wanted to see a variety of pedagogical approaches applied so that students could discover how they best learned.


When I read these responses I get excited for America’s future, especially knowing that some of these students plan to be teachers. Even the ones that won’t teach still have solid ideas about what good schools should be. Now if I can only get them to speak up. How about you?


What is a good school?

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