Encouraging passionate learners | IN 60 SECONDS


For the better part of two decades,
school improvement has been focused on narrowing achievement gaps by boosting
the performance of low-achieving students in reading and math. This
mission has undeniable merit, but it also carries real costs. One cost is a lack of
attention to those students who are hungry for learning that stretches
beyond the corners of state academic standards. Another is that teachers feel
so obliged to focus on gap-closing instruction that they feel far less
free to devote time and energy to supporting advanced learning. When
students seek to master advanced math, research historical essays, or plunge
into biochemistry, that should be celebrated, not merely tolerated. As
William Fitzhugh, the founder of the world’s only journal for academic
research papers by high school students, has pointedly put it: “We could at least
encourage the crazy ones.” So for 2019, here’s a healthy resolution
for school improvement: Let’s at least make sure we’re also encouraging the
passionate ones. How do you think schools How do you think schools can better support passionate students?
Let us know in our poll. Also, let us know what other topics you’d like our
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6 thoughts on “Encouraging passionate learners | IN 60 SECONDS”

  1. Encouraging passionate learners is not always feasible, given the behavioral concerns of the student who are checked out. According to current legislation, students in the USA do not have the burden of their own education on their shoulders. Rather, students who put in little to no effort are given copious amounts of supports, while time and resources are stripped from those students who are engaged. Parents who are reluctant to parent often blame the schools for their parenting failures (e.g. poor sleep patterns, unhealthy eating patterns, and screen addition to name but a few) and the concomitant failure of their children. We need to wake up, America, and put the onus of education on the students by instituting rigorous state-wide or nation-wide placement exams (as in most other developed countries where education is treated as an entitlement). Only when students are held responsible for their own progress will we see a change in the educational climate.

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