Wagner discusses the ways in which students learn and are motivated to learn in today’s society. Wagner argues that kids “crave constant connection to others” and “instant gratification”. I agree that because of the huge influence that technology has in many homes and institutions, children today have different expectations of the learning process than students did even five years ago. When I was in high school, Facebook was just becoming popular. In middle school, I was on instant messenger every night chatting with friends. I have experienced the technology rise first-hand and have therefore been able to adapt with the rest of the world. However, my students (6th graders) have been exposed to technology on a regular basis for most of their childhood. They are more comfortable using computers, navigating the Internet, and communicating online. Computers work quickly. Because of this, students expect their teachers to move quickly. They are impatient and seek immediate responses. I try to foster the needs of my students by incorporating large amounts of group work into every lesson. Students are collaborating, sharing ideas, and discovering content together. My favorite quote from the chapter: “The overwhelming majority of students today want learning to be active, not passive. They want to be challenged to think and to solve problems that do not have easy solutions. They want to know why they are being asked to learn something…They want more opportunities for creativity and self-expression. Finally, they want adults to relate to them on a more equal level.” I do feel that this is an accurate representation of students in my classroom and I feel that having students with this view of learning in mind makes my job as teacher much more fun and exciting (and also challenging)!
From what I read in this chapter about The Met, I would love to work there. The Met’s philosophy is “one student at a time”. While I believe that all good schools aim to meet the needs of all individual students, it is a difficult task and I am inspired that one school would ground their teaching in this goal. According to Wagner, “the Met has gained a national reputation for graduating nearly 100 percent of its students, with 95 percent of its graduates accepted into a two- or four-year college.” Even the names of the buildings at The Met in Rhode Island point towards success. The four buildings are named Equity, Justice, Liberty, and Unity. I also really like the advisory model. “A teacher stays with his or her advisory group for all four years of the students’ experience and is responsible for developing an Individual Learning Plan for each student, which is reviewed four times a year by the student, his or her family, and the teacher.” Whenever I hear about a hot topic in education, such as the uselessness of homework, I think about college and whether or not we are preparing students to be successful. An Individualized Learning Plan sounds like a great idea and I do feel that it would prepare students for college. In college, one does not need to take the same classes as everyone else. You get to decide on your own path. What better way to prepare students for the college experience than to guide them through a similar process in high school, supporting them along the way?