Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Student Congress 2008

So, a few weeks ago I applied for this Student Congress thing that's going on in Vancouver this Friday (April 4th). It's part of the provincial government's initiative to create more of a dialogue with schools.

So, I applied, and I was one of the people randomly selected to participate. They're flying me by float plane to Vancouver, and they're covering all transportation and rooming costs. Sweet deal, right?

I thought so. So know, I'm thinking about what kind of stuff I should do to prepare, and a lot of my musing over the past few days has been about that, trying to find something that I can talk about when I get to this student congress thingy.

So I thought. And I wrote. And I reflected. And I wrote some more. And I talked with my parents. And I wrote some more. And I talked with some other random people. And I wrote some more. You get the picture.

So, in tune with what I posted the other day in giving young people a way to finding their way in the world, I've finally got it. I have a cause, and I have something that I can change.

That thing is located within the school system. Now, I know that we do a pretty dang good job here in British Columbia at education. We have high standards, good universities, great teachers, and great programs. My school in particular is one that is very accepting and friendly, offering a great variety of programs to choose from while boasting an excellent teaching staff.

However, like many other good systems, it is not perfect, and I have a passion to continue to continually make things better.

Kids in general aren't big fans of school. Granted, they like the fact that they can make friends and on occassion find a subject that they particularly enjoy, but the whole concept of a classroom isn't always the greatest. Now, this can often be countered by the magic personality or the excellent teaching style of a good educator, but it can also be improved in other ways. If you want students to enjoy learning, then you've got to think outside the box.

One of the key ways to do this is by letting them out of the classroom. I know for a fact that at my school in particular, one of the best things that our students like to do is travel. Get out there and get to know the world, and experience the things that they are being taught in class. I mean, one can only stomach sitting behind a desk for so long, that's why we invented holidays. But what about field trips?

These are a brilliant concept, and not only for educational purposes, but also for the purposes of letting the students let loose and have fun together. Because that's the thing that students come to school for, is to have fun with others their age as they learn about the world and about each other.

An educational policy that encouraged twice as many stuctured extracurriculars that all students could enjoy is a start, and not only in the form of other courses that they could take, but also more excursions that take lessons outside of the classroom.

If students don't have to spend so much time in a world they view as a prison which can't hold them forever, they won't be so inclined to dislike it.

World Peace

1 comment:

~Julia said...

One of the most amazing things that my school did was "Outweek" at the beginning of the year. Basically you start school on the Wednesday in September, then on the Monday the entire grade (yes, all of us) heads of to camp.

Depending on the grade, you do different things; one year we were divided into groups and went biking, hiking, canoeing or rock climbing, another year we did team building activities. The best part was that all new students were integrated in and so that when everyone returned they had friends forged in the thick of mud.

The memories are unforgettable and you get to see the teachers in a whole new light. For example, my history teacher fell into a swamp and extracted revenge on the one who caused it by hiding her stuffed dog in a tree. Playing capture the flag with everyone in your grade, while wearing war paint, with everyone yelling like crazy is also quite an experience.

Field trips are really under-rated. Problem is that when they look at the bottom line they decide it isn't really feasible economically, which is sad. The reality is that you're not going to remember a lecture about ocean animals. You're going to remember being wet, camping out next to the ocean, cooking on a campfire, and finding an octopus in a large tidal pool - all of which happened on my Biology field trip. I wish there was a way that would allow everyone to experience this, because they would never skip out on that class again.