Okay, so you get the concept of differentiation and its role in helping students think about where they belong in society. (Haven’t read Part 1 of this series? Click here.) Your dreams are different from mine, so our kids’ dreams differ from each other child’s as well. Where, then, do we start differentiating for real life?
Answer: High school-level life and career readiness lessons and hands on learning experiences.
By engaging adults outside the school building in our students’ lives, we can actively help them make connections to the future. The future is full of unknowns and most of our kids have anxieties and fears about those unknowns that they may not know how to express. Some students don’t want to express their anxieties to parents or teachers — and many others lack any adult to guide them through those thoughts and questions. When we engage members of the community in conversations and lessons around work, life skills, future choices, worries and concerns, students have the opportunity to develop personalized (student centered), tailored, differentiated conversations unique to their own needs. I like to call these unique, student centered, tailored, differentiated conversations RELATIONSHIPS.
More relationships with adults support what parents and teachers want for our kids!
- Explore their hopes, fears, desires and questions without being judged
- Ask and receive answers to deeper questions
- Develop mature communication skills
- Build lasting relationships
- Align with mentors they feel comfortable with
- Reflect on their own process
- Feel like drivers in their own learning process
- Observe and reflect on their own use of knowledge and skills they are learning
- Become self-starters as they see the value of the conversations they are co-driving with an adult
It’s our job to make this happen.