What do students want out of education?

What students want out of their academic experience is a rarely asked question.  Instead, we typically ask what we can do to ensure that students meet externally imposed standards such as FCAT benchmarks.  Here are some of the most common things students are seeking in their education:

1.  More technology in the classroom.

Given that our society is becoming more and more technology based, this shouldn’t really come as much of a surprise.

2.  Teachers who are also mentors.

In a fast paced world where parents are often juggling multiple responsibilities, students are looking to teachers to provide support and guidance as they map out their futures.  They want to know that their teachers care personally about them.

3.  Innovation.

The biggest complaint teachers hear is that classes are boring.  Students want to learn in interactive, creative ways, and given the multitude of resources available, including interactive websites and iphone apps, this shouldn’t be too distant a possibility.

4.  Choice.

Students want some autonomy in choosing what classes to take, and they want their voices to be heard in decisions about what classes the school will offer.  Although the importance of core classes cannot be overstated, students want more elective options, and more options within their core requirements.  They also want the freedom of pace to slow down on tougher or more interesting material in a curriculum.

5.  Real-world applications.

Finally, students want coursework whose relevance to their lives and futures is more obvious.  As a tutor, I can’t count the number of times a student has asked me why he needs to know how to graph a sine function or what the unit circle values are.  Students want classes that are geared toward things like financial planning, which have obvious applications in real life.  They also want their teachers to make more of a connection between class material and real-like examples.

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